Virtual Book Club Prepares Girls for School


Girls build literacy skills and made new friends through Back to School Book Bash

This August, Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas held our first Back to School Book Bash, a virtual book club encouraging girls to practice reading and critical thinking skills in preparation for the upcoming school year. Girls built literacy skills and made new friends while participating in fun, interactive discussions and activities centered around girl-themed books. Through discussions on relevant and timely topics such as family, belonging, equity, and relationships, girls prepared to start school stronger, smarter, and bolder. 

Courtney Taylor-El, the campus manager of Girls Inc.’s Love Field location, explained that the virtual book club bridged the gap between summer break and the delayed start of DISD classes. “We wanted this program to provide an extension to summer, since the school year was delayed until Sept 8th for most girls,” Courtney said. “[The book club] gave Girls Inc. the opportunity to provide an academic-focused program to kick-off the school year. We felt the content from each book would allow girls to experience real-world connections to literature and to sisterhood.”

Ashley Durden, a program facilitator at Girls Inc. Dallas, taught a course for 2nd and 3rd grade girls. “It’s important to remind girls that reading is fun and can teach them about others and themselves,” Ashley said. “Even during COVID, our girls were able to dive into another world, be creative, think, discuss, and connect with others – all from the comfort of their homes.”

Books were chosen carefully, with an emphasis on diversity, social justice and strong female characters. Books like The Secret Language of Girls by Frances O’Roark Dowell and The New Girl…And Me by Jacqui Robbins provided girls opportunities to explore important topics like growing up, facing discrimination, and taking action against injustice. 

“Our girls were able to identify that the main character of our book was treated unfairly,” Ashley said. During this class, her students discussed the value of diversity and concluded that differences are a good thing, not something to hide. 

Ashley saw her students become increasingly more confident as the course went on. “I enjoyed watching the girls become more outgoing and comfortable with each other as time passed,” she said. “In the beginning only 2 of our girls really answered and participated. By the last day everyone wanted to share their work and answer questions. I loved to see that!”