GREENSBORO, N.C. — School is out for many students as summer break is in full swing, but learning is continuing for some Forsyth County students through a literacy program.

What You Need To Know

  • Freedom School is a six-week literacy program on the campus of Wake Forest University
  • More than 60 students from kindergarten to eighth grade are a part of it
  • The Freedom School has been on the Wake Forest campus for 10 years
  • This year's program runs until July 26

Over 60 students are embarking on a six-week literacy program on the campus of Wake Forest University.

It's called Freedom School, and the program consists of kindergarteners through eighth-graders.

The literacy program focuses on summer regression, helping students retain what they learned from the previous school year, according to Tyra Bethea, site coordinator for Freedom School.

She added the focus isn’t just making sure these students can read, but also understanding what they’re reading.

“We want to work on comprehend[ing] and their ability to be able to draw conclusions from context clues or make inferences. Decoding process is really what we’re working on strengthening, so that we know that our scholars are retaining their reading skills,” Bethea said.

The Freedom School was founded by Ella Baker in 1864 as a way to educate African Americans who wanted to vote. 

Last year, the program found that 80% of its students maintained their reading grade level or grew into a higher one.

“If a child is not able to be involved in a reading literacy program over the summer, and that happens consistently over the 12 years that they’re in grade school, imagine how far behind they can be when graduating high school,” Bethea said.

She described how the program helps students pursue higher education, which may not have been possible in the past.

Better retention skills might also enable students to pursue entrepreneurial ventures, which might not cross their minds otherwise.

Wake Forest has been home to the Freedom School for a decade. This year’s program will continue until July 26.