CDF Freedom Schools : Examining the History of an Effective Teaching Model for African American Students in Urban Communities
Brown, Ebony S.
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In 2012, the author participated in an internship as a teacher at a summer camp entitled Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) Freedom School in Chicago, Illinois teaching urban second graders the value of reading. Through a carefully structured curriculum—the Integrated Reading Curriculum (IRC) designed by Children Defense Fund (CDF) staff, the scholars were able to fully immerse themselves into the stories of black and brown heroes of the world and through related activities, completely comprehend the books they read. The camp lasted six weeks, and by the end of the program, the scholars constantly expressed how much they enjoyed reading, the complete opposite of the attitudes they displayed at the start of the summer. The author presents the history of the Freedom Schools movement, the Children's Defense Fund and the benefits of its systematic teaching strategy on urban youth. She examines the formation of the Freedom Schools across the nation, specifically the CDF Freedom Schools. The paper argues that the structure of Freedom Schools demonstrates an effective teaching model that helps black students living in urban communities to develop literacy competence.