Building Literacy and Community at the Detroit Regional Story Summit

This post was originally published on Booksource Banter on July 24, 2017.

“Read. Aloooong. Read. Read. Aloooong!

Read. Aloooong. Read. Read. Aloooong!

Our hands are up high. Our feet are down low.

And THIS is how we read along!”

This is the song that opened our third annual Detroit Regional Story Summit last month. Alongside Booksource and LitWorld staff, we had over 250 students in attendance, representing ten different LitClubs across the city. 

LitClub, LitWorld’s signature program, cultivates social-emotional development by building resilience and literacy skills together during critical out-of-school time. Kids learn to value their own and others’ stories, become powerful readers, and use literature as a guide as they learn to navigate their lives and tell their own stories.


For the LitKids at the summit, we celebrated with community-building activities, a custom Detroit coloring book and a beautiful kite-making activity. The students wrote about their favorite of the 7 Strengths and thought about people in their lives who exemplified those strengths. Through art, they expressed these strengths in their own way, drawing their interpretations on the kites. Then, they watched their strengths soar in the blue sky.

The weekend also included an exciting LitFest organized and hosted by the boys LitClub at Marcus Garvey Academy. The 6th grade LitClub members engaged younger students in captivating read alouds and fun activities, growing in their mentorship. Jessica from Booksource noted how much she enjoyed watching the boys act as role models for the younger kids.

“Seeing the 6th grade boys step up and engage the first and second graders, offering ideas as they worked, was so powerful. They really took ownership of their idea and wanted to make sure it was a fun and meaningful event for the children attending.”

Thanks to generous support from Booksource, everyone at the Story Summit and LitFest went home with a book from an amazing, hand-picked selection that reflected the 7 Strengths through a wide range of stories.

This Detroit Regional Story Summit was an unique opportunity to build community among LitClub members from different schools within a district that has fully embraced the enriching power of our LitClubs. Our partnership with the Detroit Public Schools Community District has been a powerful one. Strong advocates such as Cynthia Coble, our Detroit Partnership Coordinator, and Dr. Deborah Winston, Executive Director of the DPS Office of Literacy, have ensured that all children have the tools to reach their biggest and boldest dreams!

When we empower young people to write down their strengths and see them soaring through the summer skies, they light a spark to feel confident and proud, and, in turn, empower others. That is what we hope to achieve. Through diverse and culturally relevant texts, self-expression and community building, kids grow to become strong leaders and happy learners. Together with Booksource, we look forward to more moments of reading, singing and celebrating our stories together.

THIS is how we change the world!