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The EyeSeeMe bookstore was buzzing Thursday afternoon as a group of students from Girls Inc. of St. Louis perused the shelves and proudly admired a public display showcasing vision boards they constructed.

The girls made the vision boards, which represented themselves and their aspirations, as part of a community literacy initiative sponsored by the University of Missouri–St. Louis College of Education’s Literacy Clinic, with additional support from the E. Des Lee Tutorial Endowment.

The clinic leads a literacy initiative each summer, and this year, Scholar in Residence Kelly Byrd created a book club for 6-8th grade students at Girls Inc., a nonprofit that provides educational and cultural programs in safe environments for girls. Rebecca Rogers, E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Tutorial Education and Curators’ Distinguished Research Professor, also collaborated with Byrd on the initiative.

“This is part of the E. Des Lee Tutorial Endowment’s vision to build learning ecologies that center culturally responsive literacy education, local children’s authors, K-12 students and teachers and families,” Rogers explained.

As part of the book club, the students read and discussed “It’s Not Bragging If It’s True: How to Be Awesome at Life,” by Zaila Avant-Garde, the first African American student to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee.