KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As kids are getting ready to get out of school for the summer, Kansas City is gearing up to launch an intensive program to improve reading skills among children.
For six weeks this summer children five years and older will receive intense training on reading mechanics, things like phonics, phonemic awareness and vocabulary.
Freedom Schools use college-aged interns to teach a curriculum that includes culturally diverse books.
These teachers receive training from the Children's Defense Fund before entering the classroom.
The goal is to save one in six American kids, who the group says are left behind in poverty, ignorance and broken families.
"I think it’s important for these Freedom Schools to pay attention to the African-American and Latino interest, to talk about the black communities out of which these people have emerged," said Michael Eric Dyson, a professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. "And to connect the dots between the histories of their own culture and people, and their contributions to America and what’s going on now. To look at learning styles that benefit the people you are aiming to help."
Freedom Schools have helped Kansas City kids for more than 20 years read at or above their grade level.
Parents must attend weekly workshops in the summer program to set family goals and learn how to advocate for their children's success.
Freedom Schools plan to partner soon with Kansas City's "aSTEAM Village," which encourages students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, arts or math.