The Institute for Positive Living's Open Book Program

About Us, The Open Book Program
About Us

Open Book Program

435 E. 35th St., 2nd Floor, Suite One
Chicago, Illinois 60616
Phone: 773-924-9802
Fax: 773-924-9801

Executive Director: Marrice Coverson


Open Book is one of the programs of the Institute of Positive Living. Open Book is a multifaceted after-school program for young adolescents in which participants are engaged in activities that encourage the development of reading,
writing and critical thinking skills

The Institute for Positive Living: Our Mission

The Mission of the Institute for Positive Living is to promote the quality of community life with special focus on helping families solve educational, social and economic problems.

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The Purpose of Open Book


The purpose of the Open Book Program is to create a love of reading and develop an appreciation for the world of ideas.

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Core Values

Unlike other literacy-focused programs, Open Book does not teach children to read. Instead, all of its activities are designed to promote reading as a source of fulfillment, a learning tool and a necessity for personal growth and development. Our approach is centered in five core values that include a passion and commitment to:

  • Creativity
  • Empowerment
  • Excellence
  • Integrity
  • Opportunity.

These core values will be reflected in all of our decisions, actions, and interactions.

We Believe...

  1. We believe…
  • Reading is the reward that transports individuals from the “block” to the world of ideas. Therefore we will cultivate partnerships and utilize resources to ensure program continuity and growth.

  • Integrity is at the heart of every good program. Therefore we will maintain the highest standards in selecting and presenting materials and developing staff and volunteers.
    That reading is empowering and provides an avenue to personal freedom. Therefore we will utilize multifaceted activities to stimulate a love of reading and to foster curiosity and creativity.

  • Hard work determination and reading contributes to a successful life. Therefore we will create an environment that fosters commitment to hard work, determination and a love for reading.

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Meet Our Founder
Our Founder, Marrice Coverson

The Reverend Marrice Coverson is the Founder of the Institute for Positive Living and the Executive Director of the Open Book Program, a citywide, after-school literacy initiative for adolescents. With more than 30 years of experience in the nonprofit field, Ms. Coverson has held a number of positions including Center Director of the Chicago Youth Centers, Elliott Donnelley Youth Center, and Director of the West Side Learning Center at Malcolm X College. Ms. Coverson has conducted workshops on Board Development and Self-Development in Illinois, Ohio, Maine and Texas.

Ms. Coverson is a recipient of the Women of Excellence Black Pearl Award and the Community Leadership Award from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Her essay, “For the Love of Reading,” appears in Turn the Page and You Don’t Stop (2006).

Ms. Coverson holds a MA in Religious Studies from the Chicago Theological Seminary, a BA in Sociology from Mississippi Valley State University, and a MA in Public Administration from Roosevelt University. She received training in Adlerian Treatment Concepts from the Alfred Adler Institute. Ms. Coverson is the Pastor of the Church of the Spirit in Chicago - the first female and African American to hold that position. Ms. Coverson is also the first African American since 1924 to hold a Trustee position on the Board of Directors of National Spiritualist Association (NSAC) of Church's Board of Directors.

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Artists and Teachers


Open Book artists conduct the daily arts instruction. They apply their own expertise and creative methods to the Open Book curriculum. Artists create a safe space for artistic expression and expose youth to creativity as a means of experiencing literature. Artists introduce the Literature Circles and the Open Book Journal, incorporating these tools in drama or media activities. They also prepare students to interview the authors and guide students as they prepare and perform book excerpts.


Open Book teachers provide the necessary link between the school and the Open Book artists. Teachers act as the stabilizing energy providing support to the artist-led creative projects by leading the reading and discussion portion of Open Book. Teachers recruit students for the Open Book program, assist with pre and post-testing and encourage students' active participation. They also assist students with journal writing.

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