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.
Programs: In addition to our long-term projects for systemic change in Baltimore, Newark, Philadelphia, and other smaller school districts, CLI conducts numerous targeted projects from Atlanta to Boston to Chicago for school districts, individual schools, Head Starts, and childcare providers. We have conducted Institutes for Teachers and provided materials to Head Starts nationally. CLI offers a summer Institute for teachers in Philadelphia for second-year Teach For America teachers from around the country to help them learn effective classroom management. CLI provides: 1. Professional development for early childhood educators. This includes group trainings (Institutes, seminars, and workshops), one-on-one on-site coaching by our Professional Developers, consultations, and guided classroom visits. Our clients include teachers (including teachers from Head Start and Teach For America) and school district reading coaches. 2. Creation and maintenance of 51 Model Classrooms in typical schools serving low-income communities in 11 cities and 6 states. These classrooms provide opportunities for other teachers to see best instructional practices used effectively in classrooms like their own. Observing these successful classrooms serves to increase teacher expectations of students, a key factor in raising student achievement. Some of the classrooms also serve as coaching laboratories in which our Professional Developers can help school district coaches enhance their skills. 3. Our Blueprint for Early Literacy® pre-kindergarten curriculum, which has demonstrated extraordinary and consistent success in helping disadvantaged children acquire the skills they need to learn to read. We work to implement Blueprint and train teachers in its use in school districts, Head Starts, and childcare centers from Atlanta to Boston and from Chicago to the Shenandoah Valley. 4. Carefully selected collections of excellent children?s books to help create high-quality classroom literacy environments
2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
Write a Review

More Info

EIN 23-2515768
215-561-4676
Invite people to share their experience with this nonprofit!

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.

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

Was this review helpful? 
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.

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

Was this review helpful? 
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.

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

Was this review helpful? 
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.

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

Was this review helpful? 
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!

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

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

As a teacher who has been expected to implement a number of literacy programs over my career, it was a huge surprise to come across Children's Literacy Initiative! The outstanding components of their program, for me, are an in depth and coherent understanding of how children acquire literacy skills and comprehension - a love of learning-, and the fact that while every teacher is given a series of training workshops, that is only the beginning. For the rest of the year, or a multi-year commitment, they also receive on-site, individualized coaching designed to help them not just implement best practices, but become so comfortable with them that they can apply what they learn to their teaching in the future. Based on intensive understanding of the research, CLI is able to bring early literacy skills to disadvantaged children, yet not at the cost of the social/emotional and play components of these grades. How cool is that?

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

In Brooklyn, where early reading and vocabulary skills of both Pre-K and Kindergartens has exceeded any previous outcomes. 4 year olds run up to me to discuss a new "3 Little Pigs" version I've brought, and in computer, they read on-screen instructions!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Was this review helpful?