Volunteer at Open Books!

Volunteer at Open Books!

Do you love to read? Do you have some spare time that you would like to spend enriching the lives of some of Chicago's youth through reading and writing? Well you are in luck! Open Books, Chicago's award-winning nonprofit social venture that operates a phenomenal bookstore, provides programs within cities communities and strives to promote literacy in the Chicago and beyond.

Even if you can't donate your time, you can donate books, you can also organize your own book drive. As well as books, you can make the kind of donation that folds and shop at the open-books store for gift cards, fireplace tiles, shelf plates, select special books from Amazon and more!

In order to be a volunteer, all you have to do is fill out a Volunteer Signup Form and attend a volunteer orientation and training at  213 W Institute Place, Suite 207

Some of the programs that Open-Books offer are:

Open Books Buddies

Book Buddies is a weekly program that allows elementary students to work one-on-one with a trained , supportive mentor to help boost reading skills such as fluency and comprehension. Twice each week, a Big Buddy and a Little Buddy pair read together in 30-minute segments.

If you would like to volunteer for Book Buddies, fill out a signup form, attend an orientation at the Open-Books  contact Ava Zeligson @ volunteer@open-books.org

Adventures In Creative Writing

Students write and read as a whole group, in small groups, and as individuals, working with our friendly, supportive writing coaches. They read sample work aloud, discuss it as a group, and write their own prose or poetry. At the end of the session, they share their writing with the class to enthusiastic applause.

Students go home with blank journals so they can keep writing and a book of their choice from the Open Books store and, a week or so later, they receive published copies of the entire class's work, illustrated with photos of the day, to keep and share!

Open Books - Literacy Center
213 W. Institute Pl.
Suite 207

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays
9:30am - 12noon

If you would like to volunteer for Adventures in Creative Writing, first fill out a volunteer signup form

Read ThenWrite

ReadThenWrite is an engaging reading, writing, and publishing experience for teenage authors.

  • Students read high-quality literature meant to engage their minds, provoke discussion, and broaden their horizons. Open Books chooses texts that echo the lives and experiences of the students in the program and complement our partner schools' existing curricula. Titles we've used include Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes,Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, and Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman.


  • Students thenwrite a short memoir/personal narrative. Emphasizing non-fiction writing allows students the opportunity to reflect on their lives and choices they have made – both a therapeutic and empowering experience. Students work on their pieces for many weeks, with constant oversight and caring feedback from their volunteer writing coaches.


  • Open Books publishes the students' polished stories into a group anthology and celebrates the newly minted writers at a gala author launch in our award-winning bookstore. Students finish the program with two monumental things: a published book, and a new sense of self-confidence.

If you would like to volunteer for Read ThenWrite, fill out a signup form


Prepares students for post-high school success while fostering positive academic and personal habits. During the 8-12 weeks of the program, students work one-on-one with a caring mentor and the Open Books team to identify their personal strengths and reflect on challenges they have overcome.

VWrite utilizes a hybrid instruction model, fusing in-class lessons from Open Books instructors with independent reading and virtual communication (phone, email, Skype, etc.) between students and mentors.

Furthermore, VWrite offers models for academic and professional success, including carefully chosen readings, close interaction with an accomplished volunteer mentor, and the opportunity to present a “success biography” about a notable community member.

If you would like to volunteer for VWrite, fill out the signup form

Upcoming Orientations

Friday, Oct 26

12-1 pm

Wednesday, Nov 14

6-7 pm


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