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Freedom Schools help at-risk children learn to read
Organizer says the program aims to make reading cool for kids

Jo Ingles
Freedom Schools help instill a love of reading in children
Courtesy of Abhi Sharma
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It has been 50 years since Freedom Summer, the civil rights movement that focused on getting southern Blacks to register to vote and become politically active.

Reverend Laura Young with the Children’s Defense Fund of Ohio explains some of the spirit embodied in Freedom Summer can be found throughout Ohio today in what is known as Freedom Schools.

Young says a main objective of these schools is to help children with their reading skills.


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“College student interns are trained by Children’s Defense Fund to mentor and implement the curriculum," Young says. "So instead of their regular teacher throughout the year, they have these high energy, hip, cool college students, many of whom came from communities of poverty and minority communities where we target this program, to come and relate really well to the children and help them see that reading is cool, reading is fun and they are worthy of being educated and learning.”

There are 23 schools in ten different Ohio cities, including three schools in the maximum security juvenile prisons in Ohio sponsored by the Ohio Department of Youth Services.

The freedom schools run for six weeks during the summer.

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