Our book groups provide a safe place where young people can develop literacy, communication, and critical thinking skills among a community of readers, and respond both personally and aesthetically to literature. We introduce young people to some of our nation’s most talented writers and poets, exposing them to different ideas and voices.
Led by a professional book group leader, each group meets weekly for 90 minutes. The group activities include opening and closing rituals, discussion of select text, reading aloud, a poetry writing exercise, and sharing their writing with the group.
Each month, every book group participant receives 1–2 new copies of the books they read and discuss together. For some, these are the first books they have ever owned and they often share them, in turn, with family and friends — extending literacy beyond the book group’s border.
Chosen for their relevance, the books we use often have situations and characters that are reminiscent of experiences and people in the participants’ lives. For most, this is the first time they have recognized aspects of themselves in works of literature.
Through writing poetry, many of the participants have learned for the first time how to express thoughts and feelings about their own lives. In most instances, these thoughts and feelings would have otherwise gone unrecorded. We celebrate the creative voices of the young poets in our program through public poetry readings and published poetry anthologies. *Read some examples of participants' poetry here.
This is what makes literature so powerful, and so necessary for the young people Literature for All of Us serves: it provides different perspectives to lives that are often overlooked by larger society. Book Group participants become readers and writers.
Literature for All of Us is the only organization in the Chicago area doing this kind of holistic literacy model.
Along with the weekly Book Groups, we also feature the following programs:
Children's Literature for Parenting
The Body Project