Freedom Readers

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." -Frederick Douglass
Freedom Readers empowers scholars by addressing illiteracy through one-on-one reading assistance and providing them with books to read.


Youth experiencing poverty and living in inner cities struggle to improve their reading ability. Many youth are attending underserved schools and have few opportunities to read at home. According to the National Assessment of Education Progress, “The more types of reading materials there are in the home, the higher students are in reading proficiency. Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read to aloud everyday than are children in families with incomes at or above poverty,” (2015).

Freedom Readers strengthens the literacy skills of young children living in highly impoverished areas by developing a library of highly engaging and developmentally appropriate books. The NEA (2009) found “80% of preschool and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children.” Most of the children assisted by Freedom Arts’ after-school tutoring fall between the ages of 5-9. This age group was chosen by Freedom Arts due to the importance of providing early elementary school-age children with the resources and skills to succeed.

Scholars read with tutors during our Scholar Sessions program, receive the support and guidance needed to improve literacy, and are awarded books to take home to grow their own personal libraries. They are working to improve their reading speed, the frequency of reading, their understanding of what they have read, and engaging their family in reading.

You can get involved in this program and be a part of fighting illiteracy. To volunteer as a reader or to purchase one of the books from our Freedom Readers wish list, please email Beth Gibson.