Library of Congress

Children’s Literacy Initiative Wins the Top Honor in the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program

Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) wins the 2017 David M. Rubenstein Prize, the top honor in the Library of Congress Literacy Awards program for the organization making outstanding and measurable contributions in increasing literacy levels across the country.

“Making certain children have the literacy skills they need to succeed is a matter of national importance,” says Joel Zarrow, CEO of CLI.  “We know that great teachers can make a great difference. We are thrilled to be recognized by the Library of Congress for our impact working with teachers in low-income schools.”

Students Enjoying Books

Founded in 1988, CLI is a national non-profit that provides educators with coaching and training in the most effective practices for early literacy instruction for prekindergarten through third grade. Our workshops and institutes build teachers’ understanding of literacy and the art and science of teaching children how to read and write. Through one-on-one coaching we focus on skills that improve over time and are not lost when administrations, buildings, or curricula change, CLI helps create a sustainable, school-wide culture of literacy that introduces students to the joys of reading, writing, and life-long learning.

As a two-time U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) awardee, CLI stands out for its demonstrated effectiveness. The David M Rubenstein Prize will be used to advance CLI’s three key development strategies, geographic replicability, digital innovation, and Pre-K expansion.

Richard A. Carranza, Superintendent of Schools for the Houston Independent School District, explained, “CLl’s professional development focuses on research-based early literacy practices, coupled with significant in-classroom one-on-one coaching, helps our teachers turn great instructional concepts into great instruction, making a real difference for our children.”

Robert W. Runcie, the Superintendent of Schools for Broward County Florida remarked, “We greatly value CLl’s work and want to see CLl’s program replicated in more of our District’s elementary schools to ensure quality teaching in the early grades and increased student literacy achievement. This year, the elementary school that made the greatest gains across the District is supported by CLI. I am proud to count myself among the organization’s strongest supporters.”

Teacher receiving one-on-one coaching

The Literacy Awards also encourage the continuing development of innovative methods for promoting literacy and the wide dissemination of the most effective practices. They are intended to draw public attention to the importance of literacy, and the need to promote literacy and encourage reading.

“When teachers visit our literacy education site, they’ll find that we’ve curated, and selected the best-of-the-best in literacy practices and put it all in one place. Through video we demonstrate these practices and we offer users the ability to ask questions on every page in the comments area. While we plan on participating in the site’s discussion areas, our intention is to build a community that helps one another, and ultimately adds to the content we’re providing.” said CLI’s Chief Academic Officer, Frank Grossman.



Established in 1988, Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) is headquartered in Philadelphia. CLI is focused on improving the American education system by ensuring low-income students can read by third grade. The program provides personalized, one-on-one teacher coaching, research-based literacy training, small group coaching, leadership coaching for principals and teacher-leaders and provides the books and materials classrooms need so that students can become powerful readers, writers and thinkers. In addition to Philadelphia, the organization provides services to school districts including Passaic & Elizabeth NJ, Chicago, Houston, Broward County FL, and Denver. For more information, visit


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Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress ( has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The Center provides leadership for affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s website and administers both the Library’s Young Readers Center and its Poetry and Literature Center.