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Spoken Word festival for Michiana kids coming to South Bend

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -

A Mishawaka educator is spreading literacy through an unconventional approach; spoken word poetry. It all culminates into a festival for area kids in April.

Back in April of 2016, we introduced you to Eric Johnson, a Mishawaka educator who taught English through spoken word. He had a goal of starting a slam poetry festival by April 2017. That goal has been accomplished.

Johnson's non-profit organization, Spitting Fire, is a branch off of the Chicago spoken word group Louder Than A Bomb. Through the organization, kids around Michiana have been learning writing, reading and collaboration through slam poetry.

"Spoken word or poetry in general is a way for kids to express themselves with an economy of words that maybe they aren't forced to do with long form writing," said Johnson. "And the other part is you know you are going to be speaking this and performing."

Now they get to put their skills to the test by stepping up to the mic. Johnson says it's something that couldn't happen without the communities help.

"I'm incredibly encouraged by the support I've already gotten," said Johnson. "The idea is to grow it and build it into something special for our area kids."

Letters have already been sent out with kids and their parents. The competition is April 29 from 10am -2pm. The event is free of charge to attend. Students and their families have a small entry fee.

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