FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG

WATCH VIDEOS

WHY SIMPLE SIGNS
WORK FOR ALL KIDS

When our children are little, they can get easily frustrated when they can’t tell us what they’re trying to say.

SIMPLE SIGNS give us a way to talk with our children early on so they feel even more connected and understood.

When we use SIMPLE SIGNS, we’re doing “serve-and-return" exchanges that play a huge role in early learning.

Studies show the verbal skills of toddlers and academic performance of grade schoolers taught basic sign language as infants are ahead of their peers. Not only that, SIMPLE SIGNS can also curtail the “terrible twos.”

We don’t need to worry about getting SIMPLE SIGNS perfect right away. We just have to keep up the playful learning, remembering playful learning takes two.

HOW THE FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG CAN SUPERCHARGE READING

The alphabet song we all know helps children learn letter names. The FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG teaches them the sounds letters make.

Knowing the sounds letters make, along with knowing letter names and shapes, helps children learn to read.

This song, created by Black teachers of the Freedom Schools movement, is a fun and playful way for families to help their children learn to read.
GET MORE IDEAS

FAMILIES,
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

BEFORE YOU WATCH THESE VIDEOS, please take this survey of just six questions.

The first 100 families to complete this survey twice—early in the summer and then once again later in the summer—will receive a $10 Amazon gift card by email (one per family).
TAKE SURVEY
BEFORE YOU WATCH THESE VIDEOS, please take this short survey of just six questions.

The first 100 families to complete this survey—before and after you try SIMPLE SIGNS, and then one more time at the end of the summer—will receive a $10 Amazon gift card by email (one per family).
Get notified when we update these videos with ones created with Philly families.

FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG

CLOSE
Not today

Thank you for taking the time to complete this short survey on FREEDOM SCHOOLS 
ALPHABET SONG.

Families, what you share
can help us improve our work.

Let's get started.

Contact details

1
2
3
4
5
6

How old are these children? Please choose all that apply.

1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
6

We welcome your comments and ideas. Anything else you’d like to share with us?

PREVIOUS
NEXT

Thank you for taking this survey.

The first 100 families to complete this survey—before and after you try FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG, and then one more time at the end of the summer—will receive a $10 Amazon gift card by email (one per family).

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

PRACTICE TOGETHER

We don’t need to worry about getting everything right at first. We just have to keep up the playful learning, remembering playful learning takes two.
SING ALONG
WITH PHILLY FAMILIES

Family Things

HELPFUL TIPS

Helpful tips

Set Plays

After viewing EASY INSTRUCTIONS together, we can make it more fun by using call-and-response. Say each set of letters then have your child repeat. When you’ve gotten the hang of a set of letters, proceed to the next set. Download and print these boards that separate the letters into sets as a guide:

After viewing the EASY INSTRUCTION VIDEOS together, make learning the Freedom Schools Alphabet Song even more fun by using call-and-response for each set of letters. When your child learns a set of letters, proceed to the next set. Download the Alphabet Letter Sets below.

HELPFUL TIPS

Helpful tips

Visual Pointers

Pointing to each letter as we sing the sound of each can make it easier for our children to match letter sounds with their shapes. Try using this handy alphabet list on page 28 of the FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG PLAYBOOK.

Pointing to each letter as we sing the sound it makes helps children learn to match letter sounds with their shapes. Try using the handy alphabet list in the FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG PLAYBOOK.

HELPFUL TIPS

Helpful tips

Alpha Beats

We can use everyday drums (like an upside-down bowl) to set the FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG to a rhythm that helps our children memorize each letter sound.

Use everyday drums (like an upside-down bowl) to set the FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG to a catchy beat. Sing along while doing a dance, double dutch, wherever the song and your rhythms take you to boost learning.

HELPFUL TIPS

Helpful tips

Another Take

We also love this alphabet song that recites the letter names before each letter sound. WATCH VIDEO

"NOT LIKE US"
FREEDOM SHOOLS 
ALPHABET SONG REMIX

"NOT LIKE US"
FREEDOM SHOOLS 
ALPHABET SONG 
REMIX

Check out @frogberry__’s fresh take on the Freedom Schools Alphabet Song. This parody spins Kendrick Lamar's “Not Like Us” into a whole new vibe of phonics flow. Hit play and level up your learning!

ALPHABET LETTER SETS

Family Things

FREEDOM SCHOOLS
ALPHABET SONG RESOURCES

FREEDOM SCHOOLS
ALPHABET SONG 
ASSETS

Freedom Schools Alphabet Song Lyrics
Freedom Schools Alphabet Song Helpful Tips
FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG LETTER SETS
Freedom Schools Alphabet Song Playbook

MORE FUN IDEAS

Your Speed.

We can sign “music” and turn on a favorite tune, turn it off after a few seconds, then encourage our children to sign “music” to turn the music back on! Remember, we can help them make the sign until they catch on to the game.

Dance Contest.

At the park, school, grocery store or library, we can test our signing skills with our children by trying SIMPLE SIGNS across a room, in a quiet zone, or even through a window!

Adventure Chant.

Next time we go for a hike or walk, even if it’s just to the bus stop, sing FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG to every step.

Level Up.

We can find more words that begin with the sounds of the FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG as we go on family outings around the city.

See how:
READING IS EVERYWHERE: The Philadelphia Alphabet Collection. 

MORE FUN IDEAS

Your Speed
Reading Adventures
Level Up

MEET SHARIF EL-MEKKI, OUR FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG ADVISOR

A long-time Philadelphia teacher and principal, Sharif is a nationally-known educator-activist and founder/CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development

Growing up, he attended porch lessons in West Philadelphia provided by a Freedom School teacher and organized by Black families who wanted to ensure their children were prepared to start school with strong reading skills. 

Learn More

Hear from Sharif El-Mekki, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Black Educator Development, on the origins and purpose of the FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG.
Hear from Sharif El-Mekki, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Black Educator Development, on the origins and purpose of the FREEDOM SCHOOLS 
ALPHABET SONG.

LEARN MORE

Hear from Sharif El-Mekki, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Black Educator Development, on the origins and purpose of the FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG.
"Everyone has agency in ensuring our community is literate. We can and must contribute to a literate nation. As Maya Angelou said, ‘"Elimination of illiteracy is as serious an issue to our history as the abolition of slavery.""

YOUNG PRODUCERS CHALLENGE

To amplify the FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG, we are seeking young, talented producers to create a 60-second remix. If your work gets selected, you win $250 and the opportunity to hear your remix on Power99, Q102 and WURD. WATCH AN EXAMPLE.
DOWNLOAD FLIERDOWNLOAD ACAPELLA
GUIDELINES
We encourage creative interpretations. The purpose of the song, however, needs to stay intact; it still needs to teach letter sounds and remain suitable for all audiences.
SUBMISSION
Please email your remix to temi@themightyengine.com by Friday, July 26. Include your name, cell and your remix in a digital format (MP3, WAV, etc.).

DOUBLE DUTCH CONTEST
WITH A PHILLY TWIST

To extend the reach of the FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG to more families, we are holding a double-dutch contest in partnership with Philly Girls Jump. Winner awarded $250.
DOWNLOAD FLIER
GUIDELINES
We encourage creative routines of jumps and twists. The only requirement is that the FREEDOM SCHOOLS ALPHABET SONG needs to be sung while double dutching. It can be the full rendition with the lyrics that come before and after the A-Z sounds, or just the letter sounds.
SUBMISSION
Post your team’s video on social media with the hashtag #Right2ReadPhilly
and
#PhillyGirlsJump and tag us @righttoreadphilly and @phillygirlsjump. Contest ends August 31. Winner chosen at random.
Follow us on social media for updates.

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"The pictures and the videos tell a beautiful story, and the concept is really powerful."
Christina Saxton
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"My son really enjoys singing the song!"
Shirone Parker
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"My daughter loves it. Everyone loves it."
Megan Beck
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"I love hearing the kids’ voices on the videos."
Marina Isakowitz
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"I love seeing the joy of each family...I think this is a top-tier project."
Diane Mapp
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"We are going to teach phonics and cursive writing to the kids at Jerome Brown Playground starting in July. And I was really happy to hear about the Freedom Schools Alphabet Song so I can share with the staff tutoring the children."
Veronica Holman
North Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"My daughter just learned the letter-name song. Now, she’s learning this letter-sound song."
Ronli Lebron
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"This song will help make schools meaningful for all kids."
Saleemah Nurid-din
Wynnefield

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"This song helps teach the alphabet in a fun way."
Amber Wells
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"The song is perfect. It really helps kids pronounce and spell words."
Omar Lebron
North Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"It’s important that my granddaughter learns letter sounds."
Laticha Taylor
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"The song is already helping my brothers and sisters learn how to read."
Amanda Beck
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"I love that my kids are learning this."
Tanika Tucker
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"Everything is all positive. We should all embrace this song.
It’s so enriching so kids are reading earlier and forever."
Kaamilah Muhammad
Germantown

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"I’m learning the song for my grandchildren."
John Felder
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"To be able to read, kids need to know the sounds of things."
Rene Johnson
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"Thank you for bringing back Black-teacher tools like this."
Angela Richardson
West Philadelphia

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"Awesome! Great memories."
@codacat0210

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"My Grandbabies are doing their thing here… spread the news: Reading is Everywhere!!"
@coolnerdsmom

WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING

"This is incredible!"
@monie19143