Coaching fourth graders in “Slam Poetry”

Open Books is a Chicago-based, nonprofit social venture that provides literacy experiences for more than 5,000 K-12 students every year, from reading help to novel-writing. Jessica Sheffield and Rochelle Wells, Project Leaders for Chicago’s Global Day of Giving got involved with Open Books because a co-worker’s wife had volunteered for the organization and thought it would be a good project for the Global Day of Giving.

In the first year of working with Open Books, there were 14 volunteers for the nonprofit’s Adventures in Creative Writing, a non-fiction writing workshop that included 70 fourth-grade students who participated in a “Slam Poetry” exercise about ‘A Dream in the Future’. The students wrote their own poetry with help from the volunteer Writing Coaches. Each coach was assigned five fourth-graders. Describing the event, Rochelle says “the students did an amazing job of creating similes and metaphors about their dreams. The poetry was published in a journal and presented to the students to display their hard work.”

For their second year with Open Books, Jessica says the volunteer team will devote more time and donate more books, magazines and CDs through the Book Drive that Rochelle and Jessica organized in addition to the Global Day of Giving project. “Last year it was priceless to see the excitement on the children’s faces while picking that special book to bring home.”

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