About Us

Two thirds of american children cannot read proficiently at the end of 3rd grade.

In low-income neighborhoods there is only 1 age appropriate book for every 300 children.

In coaching, teachers work with a master educator before, during and after a lesson, getting feedback on their implementation of a newly learned teaching skill.

Coaches & mentors are found to be highly effective in helping teachers implement a new skill.

Numerous studies have shown coaching to be successful at changing teacher practice and improving student learning.


Our Mission

Children’s Literacy Initiative seeks to dismantle structural racism by providing Black and Latinx children with the anti-racist early literacy instruction, support, and advocacy needed to create equity in education.
See how our mission reflects our work and the children we serve >>

Literacy to Liberation

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

Theory of Action

CLI provides educators with high-quality training, coaching, and resources to enable them to become exemplary instructors who make an impact in helping children achieve reading proficiency at or above grade level. We do this by:

Coaching Teachers

One-on-one and in small groups in the classroom – providing demonstrations and feedback that help teachers incorporate effective literacy practices into their daily work with students.

Stocking Classrooms

We provide curated collections of high-quality children’s literature and a variety of other learning materials important to successful literacy instruction.

Providing Workshops
& Seminars

to build teacher’s knowledge of literacy content and pedagogy. We also extend our services with online professional development resources.

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 >>

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.
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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 >>

Supporting Educators

A teacher’s literacy instruction plays the most critical role in a student’s reading development, but many teachers fail to receive adequate training in this area. By helping educators learn high-impact instructional strategies and nurturing dynamic professional learning communities, CLI builds lasting capacity in teachers and principals over time.
CLI works with district partners to create sustainable organizational processes that continue the trajectory of improvement in schools. Building a teacher’s instructional expertise impacts student learning over the course of a teacher’s career.
Learn more about our coaching model >>

Trusted & Validated

For over 30 years, we have built on this foundation, continuing to grow and improve our methodologies to transform and strengthen classrooms, build teacher knowledge and capacity, and improve student literacy outcomes. Supporters can trust that their investments are valued and used to further the CLI mission, to transform early literacy.
  • Charity Navigator

    We've received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, which means we're accountable, transparent, and financially healthy!

  • GuideStar

    Sound fiscal management and a commitment to accountability and transparency have earned CLI a Gold Participant rating.

  • UPenn

    UPenn's Center for High-Impact Philanthropy identified CLI as on organization where charitable dollars can do the most good.

Support Equity In Education Today!

Children deserve the opportunity to achieve their dreams, and learning to read is a critical step in that journey. Help us provide Black and Latinx children the high-quality & culturally sustaining literacy instruction they deserve.

Visit our donation page to learn about other ways to give.


Our Case for Support

Interested in learning more about Children’s Literacy Initiative? Check out our Case for Support for an extensive overview of our work, our national impact, and the students and teachers we serve.
Our Case for Support >>

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 >>
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