The Institute for Positive Living's Open Book Program

 
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Author Event with Jacqueline Woodson

Christmas Gift of Reading Event at Tilden High School
Good Food  + Good Reading + Good Health = A Better You!

Lightbearer Gala May 3, 2007
Sharon Draper Author Event & Workshop
Culminating Workshop, May 2007


Author Event with Jacqueline Woodson


Open Book students from Vernon Johns Elementary School are pictured with Award-Winning Children’s Book Author Jacqueline Woodson prior to getting their copies of Miracle’s Boys signed.



Award-winning children’s book author Jacqueline Woodson, State Senator Mattie Hunter, and Institute for Positive Living President Marrice Coverson are pictured with representatives from Beethoven, Gregory, Johns Academy, Mayo, McCorkle, Ryder, White Career Academy, Williams Multiplex, and University of Chicago-Donoghue elementary schools.



Another highlight of the Open Book Student/Author event was an Appreciation Award presented to Open Book Founder and Executive Director Marrice Coverson by Williams Multiplex. Pictured (l-r) are Award-winning Children’s Book Author Jacqueline Woodson, Theresa Rhea and Francis Oden from Williams Multiplex, and Marrice Coverson.



Open Book participants applaud award-winning children’s book author Jacqueline Woodson.

Open Book students from Williams Multiplex perform an excerpt from Jacqueline Woodson’s book Miracle’s Boys.

More than 150 African American inner city students, aged 9 - 14, got a chance to meet award-winning children's book author Jacqueline Woodson as part of Chicago's unique Open Book Program during an talk-show style Student/Author Event on Saturday, December 15, 2007 at Williams Multiplex, 2710 S. Dearborn in Chicago. The Open Book Participants performed excerpts and asked interview questions based on Woodson’s books Miracle’s Boys and Locomotion. The young people also got a chance to have their books signed by Woodson.

Open Book participants were from Lawless Gardens and several elementary schools including Beethoven, Gregory, Johns Academy, Mayo, McCorkle, Ryder, White Career Academy, Williams Multiplex, and University of Chicago-Donoghue.

Woodson reacted to their performances by stating that she had never before sat in an audience and watched scenes from her books performed.

Another highlight of the event was an Appreciation Award presented to Open Book Founder and Executive Director Marrice Coverson by Williams Multiplex. State Senator Mattie Hunter also attended the program and complimented Open Book participants on their efforts.

Miracle’s Boys and Locomotion are the latest books experienced by students in the Institute for Positive Living's Open Book Program, a youth development program that stimulates love of reading through an exciting exploration of literature. During each 10-week after-school program module, Open Book incorporates dramatic arts and media to spark imagination, build skills and broaden horizons.

In Miracle’s Boys, three brothers who are orphaned by the death of their mother, are trying to get by. Twelve-year-old Lafayette tells the story of what happens to him and his older brothers, fifteen year old Charlie and twenty-one year old Ty’ree, after Charlie comes home from a juvenile detention center where he has spent time for armed robbery. Miracle’s Boys is the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Award.

Locomotion is about Lonnie C. Motion, a boy who has had some tough breaks in his life. But, Lonnie’s fifth grade class is learning to write poetry and suddenly, Lonnie is finding the words to tell the world about his family, the fire that took his parents away, his little sister, his world. Locomotion isNational Book Award Finalist and a Coretta Scott King Honor book.

Woodson spoke to the young people from Open Book about her journey from a child who always loved to tell stories to a professional author with over 20 published books. In her biography, Woodson stated that she told a lot of stories as a child-not “Once upon a time” stories but basically, outright lies. This all changed in fifth grade when a teacher told her that a story she wrote was “really good.” Woodson told the students that this is how she found out that when you put a lie in a story on paper, it’s not a lie any more. These are the type of lies that win you prizes.

 “Author interaction is a key ingredient in the success of the Open Book Program,” states founder Marrice Coverson, president of the Institute for Positive Living and executive director of Open Book. “The talk-show format gives students the opportunity to interact with one another and to experience the books through the dramatic productions that each school has prepared.”

The Open Book Program focuses on stimulating interest in reading quality, culturally relevant children's literature through a variety of activities including literary circles, drama, and Internet experiences. During each program segment, participants do an in-depth study of one or two books. Authors and author/illustrators have included Sandra Belton, Ashley Bryan, Debbi Chocolate, Sharon Flake, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Nikki Grimes, Harriette Gillem Robinet, Charles R. Smith, Jr., Glennette Tilley Turner, Darwin MacBeth Walton, Walter Dean Myers, and Camille Yarbrough.

For information on the Student/Author event or the Open Book Program, contact Marrice Coverson at 924-9802. Information about Open Book including examples of student work can be obtained on the World Wide Web at www.openbookprogram.org.




 
Christmas Gift of Reading Event at Tilden High School


Young poets from Beethoven Elementary School and Phillips High School are pictured during a Gift of Reading Event on December 13, 2007 at Tilden High School, 4747 S. Union in Chicago.



Young poet Antonio Carrol (left), from Beethoven Elementary School signs a copy of See It Like Me!: An anthology of writings from the Open Book Program.



Young poets (l-r) Bryanna Washington from Beethoven Elementary School and Markita Wells and Marcel Pryor from Phillips High School sign copies of See It Like Me!: An anthology of writings from the Open Book Program and Divine Chronicles of a Steel River.


Over 200 copies of See It Like Me and Divine Chronicles of a Steel River, two books of short stories and poetry written by Chicago Public School students in the Institute for Positive Living’s Open Book Program and from the Olive Tree Foundation, were given away during a Christmas Gift of Reading event at 10 a.m. on Thursday, December 13, 2007 at Tilden High School, 4747 S. Union in Chicago. Students from Tilden High School and Beethoven Elementary School received the books during a school assembly that featured the young writers performing some of their work. Book recipients also got a chance to have their books signed by the young authors.

The student authors included Bryanna Washington and Antonio Carrol from Beethoven Elementary School and Erica Brown, Hope Hendricks, Dominique Pipkins, Marcel Pryor, Tanisha Tolbert, Josalyn Warfield, Peter Welch, and Markita Wells from Phillips High School. The Beethoven students work appeared in See It Like Me! The Phillips student’s work appeared in Divine Chronicles of a Steel River.

The young writers were very proud of participating in a writing project and getting their work published. Erica Brown who read her poem “Thought We Were Family” stated, “I† makes me feel good that I can express myself through words. Getting published means that I’ve accomplished one of my goals.” Antonio Carrol who read his poem “Book Power” said, “The best time for me in life for me is when I write.” Bryanna Washington who read her poem “Healing Power” stated,  “It feels good to be published. Writing inspires me to let out how I feel.”

“The Institute for Positive Living (IPL) is proud to work with its collaborative partner, the Olive Tree Foundation on this event which emphasized the importance of giving the gift of reading during the holiday season,” states IPL Executive Director Marrice Coverson. “These young published writers from Beethoven elementary and Phillips High School worked hard during after school programs over the last year or so to create these literary works. They demonstrate that the love of reading can lead to the love of writing and that this love of writing can, in turn, inspire others to want to read.”

The Institute for Positive Living facilitates the innovative reading program called Open Book in almost a dozen grammar schools throughout Chicago. This creative reading program encourages young people to be excited about reading and writing and thinking critically about the world around them. The philosophy is that if children are excited about reading, they will read more and if they read more they will do better in school. Marked increases in the reading scores of the children participating the Open Book program have been reported by many of the schools in which IPL has facilitated reading programs in since 1999.

The Institute for Positive Living would like to thank the Olive Tree Foundation, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold and Gerald and Rebecca Gerleve for making these donations possible.

 




 

Highlights from Good Food  + Good Reading + Good Health = A Better You! On August 4, 2007

 

Young people learn to create their own books.


Young people learn to create their own books, one of the activities at the Open Book Literacy Village.


Kids in reading game.

Teacher Chinyere Conley leads a group of young festival-goers in a reading game.


State Senator Mattie Hunter surveys the festival.

State Senator Mattie Hunter used a golf cart to visit booths during the large festival.


A Great Day for
Good Food  + Good Reading
+ Good Health = A Better You
!


This year the Institute for Positive Living (IPL) teamed up with State Senator Mattie Hunter to hold Good Food  + Good Reading + Good Health = A Better You!, a festival that focused on healthy bodies and healthy minds. The festival was held on August 4, 2007 at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Each summer, IPL hosts their Off the page Reading Festival. According to Open Book Program founder Marrice Coverson, the purpose of the Festival is to encourage an interest and love for reading among youth and their parents and to expose youth to children's book authors, poets and other masters of the written and spoken word.
This year, the festival theme was expanded to include good health. State Senator Mattie Hunter's 3rd Legislative District Fourth Annual Health & Fitness Fair featured activities that helped individuals and families to get healthy and fit/ These activities included: School Physicals (Bring Immunization Record), Eye Examinations, Health Screenings (Diabetes, Blood Pressure, etc.), AIDS information, Wholistic Health information, Jazzercize, and Women's Workout World.

Children and their parents also got a chance to visit Open Book Literacy Village, which featured activities like: Learn how to create your own book; Classes on writing poetry, lyrics & short stories; Reading games; Meet famous writers; Fairy Tale Jeopardy; Story Tellers.
Other highlights: Prizes!, Free Food, Free Books, Free School Supplies, Raffles and Give-aways. Good Food  + Good Reading + Good Health = A Better You! Was sponsored by State Sen. Mattie Hunter, the Institute for Positive Living and the Illinois Institute of Technology. 

 
Boy recieves school supplies.

A boy receives a backpack filled with free back-to-school supplies.
Blood pressure testing at the festival.

A community resident gets his blood pressure checked.
 
Four Honored at Lightbearer Benefit for
the Open Book Program on May 3, 2007
 

Lightbearer Awardees


Pictured are the four awardees honored during the Sixth Annual Lightbearer Benefit Gala for the Institute for Positive Living’s (IPL) Open Book Program on May 3, 2007 (second from left to third from right): Marielle Saines accepting for Louanner Peters, Deputy Governor of Illinois; Lester N. Coney, Executive Vice President; Zoraida Sambolin, NBC-Channel 5; and Frances Odem, Senior Advisor, Williams Multiplex. Also pictured are MC Hosea Sanders from Channel 7 (left), IPL Board President Ida Cross Pruitt (second from right) and IPL President Marrice Coverson (right). Each honoree received a portrait drawn by Author/Illustrator Jan Spivey Gilchrist.


Donoghue Kids Perform

Open Book Participants from University of Chicago-Donoghue Elementary School perform a piece based on the book Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs by Sharon Draper.
Mayo Kids Perform

Open Book Participants from Mayo Elementary School perform a poem based on the book Copper Sun by Sharon Draper.
Williams kids perform

Open Book Participants from Williams Multiplex perform a piece based on the book Copper Sun  by Sharon Draper.
The Other Dream Girls

The Other Dream Girls, Open Book Performing Artists Samara Smith and Coca Elysess and Open Book/Donoghue Elementary Teacher Akailah Todd, belt out classic songs.
 


Lester N. Coney, Executive Vice President, Mesirow Financial, Zoraida Sambolin, Anchor for NBC-Channel 5, Frances Odem, Senior Advisor, Williams Multiplex, and Louanner Peters, Deputy Governor-Illinois were year’s honorees at the Lightbearer benefit for the Institute for Positive Living’s Open Book Program on May 3, 2007 at Marmon Grand Ballroom, 2230 S. Michigan Ave., in Chicago. The Lightbearer event, themed “Making Dreams Come True,” featured performances by Open Book students and by Open Book performing artists and teachers.

“The Institute for Positive Living's Open Book Program is proud to honor these three outstanding individuals who share the belief that children should be encouraged to enjoy the art of reading,” states Institute for Positive Living President Marrice Coverson. “Our honorees and their respective organizations are among those who support the Open Book Program's efforts to encourage the development of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.”

The Open Book Program is a multi-faceted after-school program for young adolescents. The Program engages youth in activities that encourage development of their reading, writing and critical thinking skills.

Open Book is currently funded in nine Chicago public schools: Beethoven, Johns Academy, Mayo, McCorkle, Oglesby, Price, White Career Academy, Williams Multiplex, and University of Chicago-Donoghue. In addition Open Book and the Institute of Positive Living has developed a variety of programs for residents of Lawless Gardens.

Co-chairs for this year’s Lightbearer gala are: Rev. Bobby Rush (US Congressman); Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter; Illinois State Representative Ken Dunkin; Illinois State Representative Elga Jeffries; Sandy Benen, Glaxo Smith Klein; Calvin Butler, RR Donnelly; Elzie Higginbottom, Eastlake Management; Paul & Joan Rubschlager, Ruschlager Baking Co.; Timothy Wright, Gonzales, Saggio & Harlan; and David E. Whittaker, Chicago Area Project.

Special thanks for this year’s event go to Dominick’s Shorebank, Chicagoland Foods, Marmon Grand Ballroom, Union beverage Co., D. Williams Public Relations Group, A Work of Art Florist, Soul Deliciious Catering, Artist/Illustrator Jane Spivey Gilchrist, Joyeux Designs, Montgomery Media Enterprises, and gala committee members and volunteers Jarrod Hunter, Janis McReynolds and the entire Institute for Positive Living staff and volunteers.

Past Lightbearer honorees have included: Alderman Shirley E. Coleman, 16th Ward, Former Senate Minority Leader, Emil Jones; David Whittaker, Executive Director, Chicago Area Project; Frank Gihan, Director of Community Relations, Chicago Tribune Charities,. the Church of The Spirit, Daryl Handy, former Director of External Affairs, Ameritech; Elzie Higginbottom, CEO/President, East Lake Management; Ralph Hughes, Regional Director, Marshall Fields State Street; John Clark, President/CEO, Reggio’s Pizza; Wallace E. Goode, City of Chicago’s Empowerment Zone; Susan Levy, R.R. Donnelley and Sons; Doug Mabie, Springboard Foundation; Darryl Newell, President, 100 Black Men of Chicago; Hosea Sanders, ABC-7 Chicago; Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Author and Illustrator; Phillip Nyden, Professor of Sociology and Director of Urban Research and Learning, Loyola University Chicago, Joe Moore, Manager, Community Relations, Shell Oil, Frederick McNeal Jr., Principal of Mayo Elementary School, Merri Dee, Director of Community Relations, WGN-TV, Wynona Redmond, Pubic Relations Manager for Dominick's Finer Foods, State Senator Mattie Hunter, Lee Brown, former Area Instructional Officer for the Chicago Public School System and Tommy Ford, children's book author and actor.

“We are grateful to the many people who continue to make the Lightbearer Benefit a memorable evening,” states Coverson. “As our attendance continues to grow, we thank our friends and supporters, as well as the local media who help us tell our story. Mostly, we thank the youth who participate in the Open Book program, celebrating reading and children’s literacy every day.”




Author Sharon Draper to Open Book Students: “Your job is to tell the next generation to stand tall…”

 
 
Students from Vernon Johns Academy act out a scene from Copper Sun during an Open Book Author Event with Sharon Draper on March 17, 2007 at Johns Academy 6936 S. Hermitage, in Chicago.  
Oglesby students perform

Students from Oglesby Elementary School, 7646 South Green, act out a scene from Copper Sun.
Sharon Draper and Johns girls


Critically-acclaimed author and teacher Sharon Draper is pictured with (l-r) Gabrielle Erediauwa from Lawless Gardens, Stephanie Wilder and Markiysha Cunningham from Vernon Johns Academy.


 


Marrice with Sharon Draper


Marrice Coverson, President of the Institute for Positive Living is pictured with Author/Master Educator Sharon Draper during a Teachers Training Workshop sponsored by the Institute For Positive Living’s Open Book Program on March 16, 2007 at the Chicago Urban League, 4510 S. Michigan in Chicago. Each participant received an autographed copy of Draper’s book, Not Quite Burned Out But Crispy Around the Edges.



Mayo teachers with Sharon Draper

Teachers from Mayo Elementary School, 249 E. 37th St., are pictured with Author/Master Educator Sharon Draper during the Teachers Training Workshop.

Critically-Acclaimed Author Meets with Teachers and Students, March 16 & 17, 2007 during Workshop and Book Signing/Performance Events


More than 200 African American inner city students, aged 9 – 14, listened intently as critically-acclaimed Author Sharon Draper shared the story of how her book Copper Sun came to be written during an Open Book Author Event on Saturday, March 17, 2007, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Johns Academy, 6936 S. Hermitage, in Chicago. Copper Sun, inspired by a Draper’s trip to Ghana, isa story about 15-year-old Amari, a girl who has only one thing left—hope—after she being stolen from her village and sold to the highest bidder. “You have to know that people did this for you,” said Draper. “someone got beat for trying to learn to read. You are responsible for standing tall and being proud. Your job is to tell the next generation to stand tall and be proud of what they are.”

The Author Event was one of two Open Book events featuring Draper. On March 16th, more than 30 teachers participated in a workshop with Draper who is also a master educator. Draper stressed the value of using a backdoor approach to inspire learning. In one exercise, for example, Draper used various pieces of classical music and asked teachers to think about what colors they hear and what part of a movie you would put the music in if you were a producer.

One of the highlights of the Author Event were the student performances based on either on Copper Sun or Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs Book 2: Lost in the Tunnel of Time. Performances were given by Open Book participants from Lawless Gardens and several elementary schools including Beethoven, Johns Academy, Mayo, McCorkle, Oglesby, Price, White Career Academy, Williams Multiplex, and University of Chicago-Donoghue.

The Open Book Program focuses on stimulating interest in reading quality, culturally relevant children's literature through a variety of activities including literary circles, drama, and Internet experiences. During each program segment, participants do an in-depth study of one or two books. Authors and author/illustrators have included Sandra Belton, Ashley Bryan, Debbi Chocolate, Sharon Flake, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Nikki Grimes, Harriette Gillem Robinet, Charles R. Smith, Jr., Glennette Tilley Turner, Darwin MacBeth Walton, Walter Dean Myers, and Camille Yarbrough.

“Author interaction is a key ingredient in the success of the Open Book Program,” states founder Marrice Coverson, president of the Institute for Positive Living and executive director of Open Book. “The talk-show format gives students the opportunity to interact with one another and to experience the books through the dramatic productions that each school has prepared.” For information on the Student/Author event or the Open Book Program, contact Marrice Coverson at 924-9802. Information about Open Book including examples of student work can be obtained on the World Wide Web at www.openbookprogram.org.

 
 
 

Workshop Plus Some Fun Wrap Up
Open Book Program for 2006/2007

 
culminating workshop


Jack Ryan, a performing artists at Open Book’s McCorckle Elementary School site and Schewidia Brassel, the after-school coordinator from Oglesby Elementary School participate in the end-of-the-school-year assessment workshop sponsored by the Institute for Positive Living’s Open Book Program on May 22, 2007 at Room 43, 1039 E. 43rd St. in Chicago. The workshop focused on achievements, challenges, and solutions. The Open Book Program is a multi-faceted after-school program for young adolescents that inspires the love of reading.

Teachers and artists at culminating workshop

Teachers and performing artists from Williams Multiplex and Mayo participate in the end-of-the-school-year assessment workshop sponsored by the Institute for Positive Living’s Open Book Program.
Having fun with karioke


Performing Artist Samara Smith and Open Book Staffer Jarrod Hunter sing a song Karaoke-style during the celebration portion of the Open Book Program’s end-of-the-school-year culminating activity.

Teachers and performing artists from the Institute for Positive Living’s Open Book Program participated in an assessment workshop, followed by food and fun on May 22, 2007 at Room 43, 1039 E. 43rd St. in Chicago. The assessment workshop, conducted by professional facilitator Yvonne Jeffers, focused on achievements and challenges of the current year. It also focused on solutions that will help Open Book improve. The Open Book Program is a multi-faceted after-school program for young adolescents that inspires the love of reading.

The teachers and artists participating in the workshop came from Open Book Program Chicago Public School sites at Beethoven, Mayo, McCorkle, Oglesby, Price, White Career Academy, Williams Multiplex, and University of Chicago-Donoghue; and from the Open Book/Lawless Gardens site. High points of the Open Book Program this school year included Improved communication skills, excitement about performing and expressing themselves, interacting with artists and authors, learning from their mistakes, being eager to read—and also encouraging their non-Open Book peers to read.

The workshop was followed by a buffet dinner and karaoke performances.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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