Literacy is the very foundation of all learning and the pathway to liberation for every human being. 

Learn more about our pathway to liberation.

Literacy to Liberation >>


Our 2022-23 School Year

We stand out from other organizations providing books and professional development – our programs are independently evaluated and proven to transform learning outcomes for children.
Students Served
Classrooms served
Educators Served
Schools Served

Transforming Literacy Instruction

We coach teachers in-person, virtually and through blended learning, stock classrooms, and provide workshops & seminars on research-based early literacy best practices to improve instruction so children become powerful, readers, writers and thinkers.

30+ Years of Experience

Founded in 1988, CLI helps educators serving high-need student populations learn high-impact instructional strategies and nurture dynamic professional learning communities that continue the trajectory of improvement in schools.
See Our History >>

Sustained Impact

Schools served by CLI’s i3 Validation project in Philadelphia and Chicago are still outperforming the control schools from that study on third grade, standardized assessments.
i3 Validation Report >> 

Proven Impact

The American Institutes of Research report on a randomized control trial evaluation of CLI’s i3 Validation project found statistically significant results for our impact on teacher practice and student learning. Our approach and results are now part of the What Works Clearinghouse.

See Our Impact >>

Validated Approach

In 2010, CLI won a highly competitive $21.7 million Validation grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund to implement its program in 38 schools in four urban cities.
Empower Students >>

Powerful Partnerships

Pivoting its 30+ years’ experience while facing the COVID-19 pandemic, CLI provided teacher coaching and training to support schools and early literacy instruction in the virtual world. Shifting from an in-person model, CLI met the unique needs of educators and students as they transitioned to distance learning.

 Teaching Resources >>

Expanded Reach

Using results from i3 Validation, CLI in 2015 won, as the highest-scoring applicant, a prestigious, $19 million i3 Scale-up grant to expand into 27 public schools across the country in Broward County (FL), Denver, Elizabeth (NJ), and Houston.
Contact Us >>

Teaching & Coaching Resources

Downloadable Resources

Educators must be equipped with adequate resources and tools to successfully transition to distance learning. The downloadable documents outlined below provide teachers and coaches the roadmap to continue providing impactful instruction. 

See all our Distance Resources! >>

Literacy Education and Resource Network

LEARN, is a free, go at your own pace website from Children’s Literacy Initiative that provides educators with a comprehensive, expanding, and research-based resource to read about, watch, and discuss the best practices for comprehensive early literacy instruction.

Click here to visit the LEARN tool! >>

Make a gift. Empower a child.


CLI Announces Jason Reynolds as its Literacy Champion!

Jason Reynolds joins CLI as Literacy Champion to raise awareness and drive donations for Literacy to Liberation Campaign.

Learn More



Learn how you can use ESSER funding to amplify learning recovery

Funding Help


We Must End Gun Violence

Schools are to be safe havens for inquiring minds and fertile ground for budding passions. Each time schoolyards become crime scenes from outrageous acts of violence, we fail as a society. The senseless violence must end.

Read More


Transitions in Leadership

Children’s Literacy Initiative is no stranger to change. We now find ourselves in a new season of change as we say goodbye to our CEO, Joel Zarrow, on June 3, 2022. 

Read Full Statement

We’ve changed our mission to better reflect our work, purpose, and the children we serve. Learn more today!

Learn more about our new mission! >>

Stay Informed!

Sign up for The Read, CLI's quarterly
e-newsletter, for regular updates on our work with students and educators, inspiring stories from Literacy Champions in the communities we serve, and book recommendations to promote early literacy in school and at home.

See the latest edition of The Read >>

Liberating, Innovating and Transforming Education

Join a movement of supporters and advocates for reading and literacy outcomes, and drive equity and racial justice in education

A Giving Society for Change >>