Our Model

paint-me-like-i-am-storycorpsOur Weekly Trauma-Informed Book Groups


Each book group session includes opening and closing rituals, reading aloud, discussion of select texts, a poetry writing exercise, and sharing with the group. Participants receive new copies of every book and poetry collection they read and discuss together. They often attend field trips, retreats, and “family literacy” nights for parenting teens and their children. At the end of participant programs, public events such as Poetry Bashes provide a forum for participants to share their poetry with peers, families and instructors. Our innovative model instills a love of reading and writing that empowers individuals and enables them to realize their potential at home, school, work — and in the world.

Part of what makes our book group model so powerful is an emphasis on trauma-informed practices. Professional book group leaders facilitate discussions of literature using techniques and standards commonly seen in traditional talk therapy settings. They respond to sharing in an empathetic, non-judgmental, and emotionally attuned way, and establish and maintain healthy boundaries in the group. Our trauma-informed book groups foster a sense of connection—between participants, with the book group leader, and with the literature—and it is through connection that healing and resilience grow.


bookgroupThe curriculum that we write invites book group members to reflect on traumatic experience in a way that engages both the thinking and feeling parts of their brains, allowing new perspectives and insights. Through reading, writing, and discussion, book group members reframe their experience in ways that disrupt old and harmful narratives, and experience a greater sense of power and agency in sharing and exploring their experience.

View a sample curriculum.

Deepening Connection to Literature

Literature for All of Us increases our participants’ interest in and connection to literature through original curricula that focus on themes and authors relevant to participants’ cultural identities and experiences.

Social-Emotional Learning

Our programs improve the self-confidence of our participants as well as their connection to and interest in school and peer relationships.

Resilience Building

All book group leaders are trained to infuse a trauma-informed lens into the curriculum they create as well as their program delivery, creating a safe space for self-exploration and expression.

Literature for All of Us provides weekly trauma-informed book groups to community organizations and schools across the city of Chicago and local suburbs.



Workforce Development

Chicago Women in Trades

Domestic Violence

Bridges of YWCA Evanston