BARS Reading Program

Literacy Is Black POWER!

OUR MOTO: Literacy Is Black Power

Today, the ability to read proficiently is crucial for success in education, career, and life. Unfortunately, there is a concerning trend among young Black males in public schools, where many are reading below grade level. This disparity not only affects their academic achievement but also perpetuates a cycle of disadvantage. However, with targeted interventions and community support, we can bridge this gap and empower young Black men to reach their full reading potential. We believe if black boys can excel in rapping, they can excel in reading. In this article, we will delve into the research behind the low reading levels among young Black males and introduce the BARS (Black America Reading Strongly) Summer Reading Program as a solution to address this pressing issue.

Understanding the Issue

Research conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reveals alarming statistics regarding the reading proficiency of young Black males. According to the 2019 NAEP report, only 6% of 12th-grade Black males read at a proficient level, with a mere 1% reaching an advanced level. These numbers are stark reminders of the systemic challenges faced by young Black men in accessing quality education and literacy resources.

Furthermore, the data highlights a concerning trend of declining reading proficiency as students progress through school. In 8th grade, only 10% of Black males read at or above a proficient level. This suggests that the education system is failing to adequately support the literacy development of young Black males, leading to long-term consequences for their academic and professional trajectories.

Root Causes of Low Reading Levels

Several factors contribute to the low reading levels among young Black males. Socioeconomic disparities, including limited access to quality educational resources, inadequate funding for schools serving predominantly Black communities, and lack of parental involvement, play significant roles. Additionally, cultural stereotypes and biases may affect educators’ expectations and perceptions of Black students’ academic abilities, further exacerbating the problem.

Furthermore, the absence of relatable and culturally relevant reading materials may hinder young Black males’ engagement with literacy. Many traditional reading curricula fail to represent the diverse experiences and perspectives of Black communities, making it challenging for students to connect with the material.

Introducing the BARS Summer Reading Program

In response to the urgent need to address the low reading levels among young Black males, the Lazarus Law And Project (LLJP) and the Defiant Lawyers YouTube Channel are proud to introduce the BARS Summer Reading Program. BARS aims to empower young Black men by fostering a love for reading and providing them with the support and resources they need to succeed academically.

The mission of the BARS Summer Reading Program is multi-faceted

We recognize the importance of instilling a passion for reading early in life. Through engaging and culturally relevant reading materials, interactive activities, and mentorship programs, we aim to spark enthusiasm for literacy among young Black males.

Access to books and educational resources is essential for literacy development. As we expand, the BARS Summer Reading Program will partner with schools, libraries, and community organizations to ensure that young Black men have access to a diverse range of reading materials tailored to their interests and experiences.

Parents and educators play pivotal roles in supporting children’s literacy development. Again, as we grow, the BARS Summer Reading Program will offer workshops, training sessions, and resources for parents and educators to enhance their literacy support skills and create a nurturing reading environment at home and in the classroom.

Community involvement is critical for the success of literacy initiatives. The BARS Summer Reading Program will collaborate with local businesses, civic organizations, and cultural institutions to provide financial support, volunteer opportunities, and literacy-focused events for young Black males and their families.

Impact and Potential

By addressing the root causes of low reading levels among young Black males and providing targeted interventions through the BARS Summer Reading Program, we have the potential to transform their academic achievement and future prospects. By fostering a love for reading, empowering parents and educators, and building strong community partnerships, we can create a more equitable and inclusive educational landscape where all young Black men have the opportunity to thrive.

How Bars Will Work

Step One — Registration

Each participating parent will register their child. Registration will enable BARS to track participants’ reading progress and provide incentives and rewards after the summer. You can register here.

Step Two - A Pledge

The second step is requiring parents to make the following pledge:

I pledge to dedicate the necessary time this summer to help my son (s) become a proficient reader. I pledge to spend the money required to buy the BARS recommended books for the BARS program. I pledge to read to my infant children/toddlers daily or ensure my school-age children read for an hour before any recreation.

Step Three - A Question

BARS will require parents to visit their sons’ schools to ask their sons’ teachers a simple question – is my son(s) reading at grade level? If the child is reading below grade level, parents should inform the teacher(s) about the BARS program and how it will help their son over the summer.

Step Four - A Community

Parents will be encouraged to gather a small support team of similar caregivers for encouragement and support. Caregivers include parents, grandparents, etc.

What Bars Will Provide Participants

Introductory Package

Every participant will receive a welcome package. This package will include a suggested reading list, membership pledge, membership badge, and a free aBook.

Moral Support

BARS will provide participants moral support, encouragement, tips, and guidance. During the summer, we will do live streams on the Defiant Lawyers YouTube Channel to answer questions, offer tips, and introduce parents to experts.


When the summer ends, BARS will provide a certificate for every student who completes the program.

End of Summer Reading Prize

Each student will be required to submit book reports on the books they read. We will give that student points for his book reports. At the end of the summer, the student with the highest reading score will receive an iPad.

When will BARS start and end

BARS will start and end from 06/01/2024 thru 09/01/2024

Please register by May 20, 2024


Several people have expressed a desire to donate to the BARS Summer Reading Program. Please use the button below to make your donations. Thanks!


The challenges faced by young Black males in achieving reading proficiency are multifaceted and deeply rooted in systemic inequities. However, through targeted interventions, community support, and collaborative efforts, we can break the cycle of disadvantage and empower young Black men to reach their full potential. The BARS Summer Reading Program represents a proactive and innovative approach to addressing this pressing issue, and we invite individuals, organizations, and communities to join us in this vital mission. Together, we can create a brighter future for young Black men through literacy and education.

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