Children's Literacy Initiative

Rating: 4.91 stars   11 reviews

Issues: Education

Location: 2314 Market St Philadelphia PA 19103 USA

Mission: CLI''s mission is closing the gap in reading achievement between children in poverty and their middle-class counterparts. Effective literacy instruction combined with great children''s books is the heart and soul of CLI''s programs. The majority of children in the classrooms we serve are from economically disadvantaged families with little or no access to books. When we furnish classroom collections (up to 200 children''s books) and assist pre-K through 3rd grade teachers in literacy instruction, we work to give these children an essential tool for academic success and an opportunity to develop a life-long love of reading. Headquartered in Philadelphia since our founding in 1988, CLI has been funded by government and private grants as well as many generous individuals. Our clients have included the school districts of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Newark, and Philadelphia.

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
Write a Review

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

Rating: 4 stars  

Children's Literacy Initiative was a key component of my classroom in North Philadelphia. With limited supplies, CLI stepped up and provided my classroom with a plethora of books as well as lots of guidance on implementing them and increasing students' love of reading. I would, hands down, accept them into another classroom of mine.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my classroom! My students were able to read books about more subjects than we had in our limited library. It made them want to read and increased their reading levels.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how it has increased my students' interests in reading.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

helping, knowledgeable, supportive.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the lives of more inner city youth than it already has!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-5-01

Rating: 5 stars  

Seeing the work that the Children's Literacy Initiative has accomplished within the public school system of Philadelphia has truly renewed my faith that there are people in this world working to make a real difference--and succeeding. The current climate in our public schools has the potential to create an even larger divide between the upper and lower classes of our country, and this divide is driven mostly by issues of literacy. The work that CLI does deserves to be championed because they have managed to develop a set of best practices that not only promote literacy in a traditional sense, but in every aspect of the curriculum, giving students the tools they need to have more agency in their pursuit of knowledge as a whole. I was so moved by the commitment I witnessed that I was driven to find out more about their work across the nation. Their efforts to advocate for equal education for all should be celebrated and supported.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Comegys Elementary School, Philadelphia PA

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

Rating: 5 stars  

I attended a CLI Institute for Teach For America corps members in the summer of 2009, and I have to say it was one of the most valuable instructional trainings I have ever had--it really took my teaching to a higher level. I am currently working in a low-income urban school (past my 2-year TFA commitment), and I often use the strategies and techniques we examined in that seminar--to the great benefit of my students. I wish I could have had more training with CLI. I am convinced that their model of supporting teachers through collaborative coaching is the most effective way to improve instruction over the long term. I know they would do wonders for my school.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My experience with CLI helped me improve my teaching abilities and raised my expectations of my students.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

I worked with a teacher who received professional development via Children's Literacy Initiative and she could not say enough about how happy she was with the program! Thrilled! She compared herself to her peers and felt much better prepared to go out into the field. She spoke with me at length about the strategies she learned to work with struggling readers and I was moved by her real life examples. Since my interaction with this teacher I have performed my own research and it is clear that Children's Literacy Initiative is exactly the type of organization we want working with our teachers to help maximize student achievement.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I heard firsthand from a CLI trained teacher that the CLI professional development was by far the best she had ever received. She said she planned to use the knowledge gained throughout her entire career!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

Rating: 5 stars  

Communication is at the heart of the human condition. If one has no confidence in that regard, one has little or no chance to excel in life. I know because it's what I do for a living. I communicate with people to gather news and I communicate with our audience by presenting it to them. Effective communication begins and ends with literacy. If you can't read well, you won't speak well and, most importantly, you cannot learn. The consequences are disastrous to any young person and we owe it to every one of them to present them with the greatest opportunity to make the most out of their lives. I was so lucky to be the son of two loving parents who read to me so often that they joke to this day how I used to interject during my favorite stories to tell them they missed one word! Unfortunately, far too many--millions likely--children aren't products of the same loving environment. They're school systems aren't well-funded and the combination is enough to seal their fate at a young age without help. CLI's mission is to provide that help. I can think of no better purpose than ensuring every disadvantaged child steps onto an equal playing field in the game of life.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Befriending a CLI employee who is honestly proud of her work. By all accounts it's an organization stocked with people who care deeply about their mission.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-10-01

Rating: 5 stars  

After teaching for ten years, winning a local award, and getting a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction, I thought I was more than equipped to help children learn to read and write. From Chicago to the far west rural areas, I had done my best with developing literacy in young children, and thankfully received "superior" evaluations throughout. However, in Children's Literacy Initiative, I have discovered a whole new outlook on what best practice really involves, and how to help teachers, novice or veteran, understand and implement this type of instruction. Well-trained, supportive coaches are facilitators for elementary teachers who may need help in a number of areas. These include classroom environment, routines, reader's/writer's workshop, and the CLI-developed "MTP". MTP is Message Time Plus, and builds upon/revolutionizes the typical morning message. This is just one example of how CLI takes everyday practices and uses research to improve them. These are then made teacher friendly. Teachers build supportive relationships with coaches, who they trust are not there to judge their performance. They receive and endless amount of ideas and actual lessons/books to directly affect students more positively and instill a lifelong love of learning. I can't think of a more comprehensive, inspiring and effective way to help children master literacy.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

various trainings and classroom observations, as well as authentic student work.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I went to a college that was originally a normal school, one with the sole purpose of training teachers. I had several long term student teaching experiences, and I thought I had a solid education behind my teaching degree. I was shocked to discover I had very little idea how to move students as readers, and was at a complete loss when it came to instructing writing. I could have good discussions with children about the stories in their basal textbooks. (I should mention that when I first started teaching the "stories" in these texts were vocabulary controlled resulting in very weak narratives.)I could assign writing topics and correct each and every error a student made, essentially rewriting his work, and handing back the paper for recopying, but I could do little else. I was left to my own devices to improve my craft. Now I work with teachers, the majority very early in their careers and I co-plan, co-teach, and co-reflect on each lesson we do together, implementing best practices in the instruction of literacy. Children's Literacy Initiative keeps my colleagues and me abreast of the most current research regarding literacy instruction, and I am able to asure that any teacher I'm assigned to coach isn't left to flounder like I did as a new teacher. As a result, teachers who use best practices as their teaching strategies can expose their students to rich literature increasing the domains of the children's knowledge and allowing them to hear sophisticated vocabulary in context. Students can emulate fluent reading modeled by their teachers as they navigate texts at their own levels using decoding and comprehension strategies learned during these read-alouds, during reading workshop, or Message Time Plus. Writing is demystified as children are taught to view the world as writers, and then choose their own topics for writing, trying craft modeled by their teachers, or maybe by an author studied by the class. Mechanics are taught and used purposefully rather than in meaningless isolation. Children ultimately see themselves as writers with ideas worthy of recording. Children's Literacy Initiative empowers teachers, thereby empowering all the students they will ever teach.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

classrooms where little are people are working purposefully as readers and writers, and watching their abilities spill over into all content areas of the curriculum.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Before Children's Literacy Initiative, I had never before worked for an employer that so highly prioritizes reflection, goal adjustment and real collaborative input from its employees. There are no experts at this organization-- just colleagues with expertise. We are constantly and rigorously exchanging ideas with each other during our professional development sessions, content meetings, mentor visits, book discussions and so on-- thus, I feel highly confident in my professional role, yet I avoid falling into a common pitfall of believing that I know "the correct way" to tackle something. Each day that I coach, I go out into the field fully armed physically with resources, and mentally with individual colleagues' faces over my shoulders. I know I am part of a team that talks, listens, assesses, practices, tweaks, supports, brainstorms and strives. I honestly could not custom tailor a better work environment; the resulting pride and satisfaction I feel from being part of this committed, nurturing community empowers me to persevere and dig deeper. The teachers I work with know that I am not the expert-- I am their partner, and together we adjust and improve upon our practices. I've adopted this philosophy because it is the heart of CLI's mission.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

almost every aspect of my work with teachers.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

For nearly 20 years I have provided professional development for teachers, childcare workers, administrators and parents through Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI). In recent years my work has focused on teaching teachers the most effective, research based educational practices and helping them put these best practices into operation in their classrooms. The range of teachers impacted by CLI varies greatly. Last year I helped a new prek teacher schedule reading aloud great quality picture books to her children several times a day. I also supported a veteran 1st grade teacher in instituting a powerful reading workshop and upgrading her writing instruction. What I especially appreciated was the opportunity the teachers and I had to visit other teachers who excelled in these practices to see how they taught and have our questions answered. How satisfying to witness young children from low income and impoverished neighborhoods reading, writing, listening and speaking well!

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

improved achievement by students. The attitudes of both students and teachers changed for the better. Students set goals for themselves that might otherwise have been unrealistic, such as attending college.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Rating: 5 stars  

What a great day when I was accepted as a Coach with the CLI program! After an extensive interview, I was accepted into the Coaching program associated with CLI. As a former school administrator, while I had general knowledge of classroom instruction, I did not have specific skills in Langugage Arts instruction. After receiving on-site training and in-the-field support throughout the school year, I was able to develop skills and understanding of the learning process that I did not have before. I was able to support teacher learning and development. I'd like to believe that the teachers with whoom I worked retained a higher level of skills for this year than how they began last school year. In April, I was recruited to head the academic program in a new charter school in Brooklyn. Due to my ability to ably describe language arts instruction, I secured the new position. Thank you CLI for the research-based training and ever-present support. It was a great experience and I am far more valuable to the instructional process in my new school. Thank you CLI!

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My new staff of teachers are reaping the benefit of having an instructional leader who understands how Language Arts instruction is implemented. High end of year testing results will be our proof of CLI's implementation.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

Write a Review for This Nonprofit

Far exceeds expectations
Exceeds expectations
Meets expectations
Below expectations
Far below expectations
Rate this nonprofit:
1000 characters left