Impact Chicago


My name is Mary List and I’m the Executive Director of Children’s Literacy Initiative in Chicago. This is the first time I’ve reached out to our donors in this fashion, so thank you for taking the time to read my note! I hope you enjoyed Sharon’s recent story about Shawn. Their story was a perfect example of what I’ve seen at our schools in Chicago over the past 14 years. If you missed Sharon’s email, check out their blog post here. I’m following up to share more about CLI in Chicago and ask for your support.


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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.

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When I was asked to share a special CLI story, I immediately thought of one of our first graders in North Lawndale READS, located on the Southwest side of Chicago. Devin* was very shy at the beginning of his time with his Interventionist, but really came out of his shell during their work together. His mother reported that he often talked about the CLI Interventionist and his reading class (intervention sessions) at home. The mother noticed that her son’s reading not only improved, but that he had started talking about books he read at home, which he’d never done before. At the beginning of January, he was reading below his grade level but now thanks to a CLI Reading Interventionist he will be exiting the reading program at a 2nd grade level.
Amplifying reading success and joy for students just like Devin is what animates our work at the Children’s Literacy Initiative. We enable schools to give extra time and attention to students when they need it most – with exciting reading results!

Through culturally sustaining books and discussions, children can expand their view of themselves and the world and become authentically engaged in learning how to read. And we need your support to make sure we can continue to amplify the successes of students just like Devin. Will you make a gift today?

Written by: Mary List

Executive Director, Chicago

*Name has been changed to protect privacy of our students


Transforming Early Literacy in Chicago

As a national nonprofit advancing large-scale impact, CLI is uniquely poised to amplify literacy outcomes for Black and Latinx children across Chicago public schools. Learn more about Children's Literacy Initiative's work in Chicago. 

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