Children's Literacy Initiative

Rating: 4.91 stars   11 reviews

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2314 Market St Philadelphia PA 19103 USA


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.


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

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Reviews for Children's Literacy Initiative

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.

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

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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.

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?


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