Oliver, a student at Mayo, was all excited when she came
back from Christmas vacation. She had read the Open Book
selection Madelia by Jan Spivey Gilchrist to her family
during their Christmas party. Then she got her cousins together
and performed the story. She reports that she received high
praise from her family for her efforts. There were twelve
people at the party.
Stewart, mother of Deatra Barnes at Wells Preparatory visited
the Open Book Program during the second week in January.
"My daughter loves this program," stated Mrs. Stewart. "It's
the only thing she talks about. I ask her, 'don't you have
other classes?' 'Yes,' she says, 'but Mr. Kouch (teacher/drama
artist) is so nice. He never yells.'" Mrs. Steward is impressed
with how the Open Book activities have helped Deatra with
her reading and spelling.
Shekeria Gatewoods and Rob Scott from Raymond Elementary
came to school on Monday, January 10, they were all excited.
That weekend, they had attended an event connected with
the Chicago Housing Authority's (CHA) initiative to give
books to each child living in a CHA building. Darwin McBeth
Walton, author of Dance, Kayla! , was a guest author at
this event. "We read your book," the enthusiastic students
said as they met the author. The event organizers arranged
to have the students' pictures taken with Ms. Walton. Then
on January 12th, the students got to meet Ms. Walton again
when she came to Raymond as part of the "meet the author"
portion of the Open Book Program.
four of Pamela Ward's children are enrolled in the Open
Book Program. Her oldest son, Ryan, 12, was the first to
join. He was so enthusiastic about the program that Daniel,
10, also enrolled. Then the youngest children Julian, 9,
and Cynthia, 8, begged to join. "I love this program so
much," says Mrs. Ward. "I've never seen them excited about
doing something after school before."
Teachers Luverta Wilson and Mildred Johnson are so enthused
by what they have seen in the Open Book Program, that they
are now using the Literary Circle method in their regular
classrooms. "Open Book taught me a lot," stated Ms. Wilson,
"I've learned to break down the book by using the Literary
Circle roles like the Discussion Leader and the Connector
and the Word Wizard." Ms. Johnson said: "Open Book has given
me new ideas about how I can do things for my classroom."
Tiley Turner, author of Running For Our Lives, was extremely
impressed by the quality of the dramatic presentations created
by the students in the Open Book Program. In a presentation
of a scene about the main characters' journey through Canada
to their new home, for example, the students from Wells
Prep set up four chairs to simulate a wagon. As the wagon
moved along via leg and scoot power, they sang an original
song that began "Ain't
gonna pick no more cottonŠ" During the Mayo School presentation,
some students stood like trees while other students became
characters in the book, fleeing for their lives through
of the highlights of author Glennette Tiley Turner's visits
were the anecdotes that she shared about the famous people
she interviewed during her research on various books. These
included her meetings with Alex Haley and with a surviving
relative of Daniel H. Williams, the namesake of Williams
family in Running For Our Lives had to overcome obstacles
in order to achieve their goal of freedom. The introduction
to one journal exercise featured the story of Herb Kent
a pioneer African American Disc Jockey and Broadcast Hall
of Fame member who coined the term "Dusties." While at Northwestern
University in the 1950s, Kent was told he would never succeed
in broadcasting because he was a Negro. Kent proved them
all wrong. The secret to his success is his ability to ARTICULATE,
ENUNCIATE AND PROJECT. The student's
loved the story and the words. The drama artists
only have to ask - "What do you have to do?" and the students
reply in unison: "ARTICULATE!‹ ENUNCIATE!‹PROJECT!"
Prep Student Eric Evans returned to the program after an
absence caused by a fractured leg. The students welcomed
Eric back by making his cast a focal point of one of their
skits. In the skit Eric is having a terrible time getting
around until another boy, Dominique, hands him some "magic
crutches." Eric starts using the crutches and suddenly feels
a lot better. He tosses the crutches aside and walks quickly
and unaided across the stage.
students at Mayo School did a journal exercise in which
they wrote letters to Open Book Executive Director Marrice
Coverson. Here are some excerpts: "ŠThank
you for bringing Open Book to wonderful Mayo SchoolŠI wouldn't
read more if it wasn't for youŠ" --
Malisa St. Clair
"ŠThank you for having
Open Book at our school. I really enjoy it. I hope we can
have it againŠ." --
"ŠThis Open Book Program
is really funŠ" -- Mary Friend "ŠOpen Book is greatŠ"
Colon from Williams School is a gifted student who is reading
above grade level. "This program has been great for
her," states her teacher Brenda Wall. "She
loves it. The bigger the challenge, the better she likes
it. She's never bored in Open Book‹never for one moment!"
Lewis: "I am now
able to read fluently ... I used to read word to word. "
an opportunity to role-play has made me less stage-frightened.
I enjoyed the program because I was always encouraged not
to give up because of my limited vocabulary. "
Hill: "I enjoyed
the program because one cannot do the things we do in a
regular classroom - such as make up songs about the stories
and role play -- I think it is a good program for after
Blue: "I was motivated
by the artist -- would like to be a participant of the program
again; it is fun and educational."
Teacher: Referring to her 8th grade student, Nuda Stewart:
"I have noticed a calmer
child; one who is more respectful and who is also putting
more effort into classwork."
N. Quinn, 4th Grade Teacher: "The
most positive aspects (1) I saw students open book to read
that prior had no contact with books. (2) It must be a very
positive program -- children really want to come -- not
always true of other programs. (3) Excitement about going
on field trips. "
Dukes - Assistant Principal:
"...the students were inspired
to love reading which was shown by their enthusiasm."
Jones, Teacher: "
It is indeed the most successful program I have ever worked
with. Great enthusiasm n the art of the students, great
Williams School, teacher Brenda Wall is impressed with the
improvement of Open Book participant Toni Colon.
"Toni has made a drastic
improvement in her reading since she joined the program,
" states Ms. Wall. "She came in during the later part of
1999 and discovered her hidden talents through acting. She
is extremely creative as well as dramatic."