Read Lead is an educational initiative that provides literacy and leadership opportunities for youth and young adults in Los Angeles County. Through strategic partnerships, we engage families, school districts, schools, and community agencies by providing literacy-based summer and after school programs, and a leadership institute focusing on civic, and social entrepreneurial leadership. Read Lead is led by young professionals and educators who have an innovative approach to service delivery that leverages community resources and expertise to improve the educational landscape.

Read Lead is an official site sponsor of the national Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools program. The CDF Freedom Schools® program seeks to build strong, literate, and empowered children prepared to make a difference in themselves, their families, communities, nation and world today. By providing summer and after-school reading enrichment for children who might otherwise not have access to books, the CDF Freedom Schools program plays a much needed role in helping to curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps.

Read Lead currently operates 5 Freedom School sites throughout Los Angeles County and has launched two sites in Seattle, WA. The organization has served over 800 scholars and families and has provided close to 100 jobs for young adults during the summer months.

Investing in Our Future

In recent years, programs and opportunities for low-income youth have dwindled, limiting programs to only those upper class high school students who risk not graduating. Research shows that children who lack access to enriching activities typically lose learning over the summer months and face a number of behavioral risks.

Literacy is recognized as a critical building block for success in school and in life, and summer learning loss in reading has been identified as a primary source of the widening achievement gap between lower- and higher-income children and youth. Summer learning loss is defined as a loss in academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer vacation. Research studies have shown that low income students generally lose approximately two months of reading achievement during this time. In addition, California’s public schools serve a high proportion of English-language learners, who especially need academic enrichment to improve language arts and literacy skills.

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