the Read

Winter 2023

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Sharing insights on all things literacy, from highlights of CLI’s work and impact in communities nationwide to the latest research in literacy instruction, helpful practices for implementation, and book titles to expand your classroom and at-home libraries.

Stories from our Community

Sowing a Love of Literacy

Alisha* sat in a first-grade classroom at Joseph Kellman Corporate Community Elementary School in Chicago. Day after day, this sweet and quiet girl listened attentively as her classmates shared during check-in time, but she didn’t say much. Then one morning, after all the children were done writing in their journals about a story from that day’s read-aloud, the children had the opportunity to use their new crayons and markers to illustrate their writing and share their drawings.

This little girl who was once reserved and hesitant to speak became excited and enthusiastically talked about her picture with the rest of her classmates. Read more of Alisha’s story and how she has flourished as a reader.

*Name changed to protect the privacy of our students

Read the full story here >>

Breakfast Briefing Recap

The State of Education in America and CLI’s impact on communities nationwide

There are a lot of conversations happening in the education space about what children of color can’t do, or aren’t doing, but at CLI we prefer to use asset-based thinking and language when it comes to the children we serve.

In the Winter Breakfast Briefing featuring Interim CEO Reina Prowler, CAO Erica Holmes-Ware, and moderated by CDO Naimah Bilal, the rich, beautiful communities that Black and Latinx children come from and the culture, skills, and talents that come with them into the classroom are affirmed.

In this conversation you will learn how CLI is supporting educators in creating spaces that elevate the brilliance of their students and build upon their strengths. You will also hear how CLI is providing educators the training and tools they need to apply the skills their children already have to their current learning contexts in ways that will highlight and nurture their inherent genius.
Watch the Breakfast Briefing here >>

How CLI Is Delivering Impact

CLI’s Framework and Diagnostic Tool
for Teaching and Learning

Children’s Literacy Initiative’s culture of innovation and continuous improvement is reflected in the methods by which technology has empowered our mission. During the pandemic, that technology was evidenced in how CLI seamlessly pivoted to serve the needs of partners, educators, and children as classrooms closed and learning transitioned online.

Today, CLI is pioneering new territory as we aim to tell new evidence-based stories about the impact of high-quality culturally responsive teaching on a child’s literacy journey. To enable this journey and measure success, we are creating durable data-driven systems powered by technology that will help us track, accelerate and drive improvements in both CLI coaching and teacher practice and child reading outcomes across CLI partnerships. 


Read more in CLI's 2022 Impact Report about this framework that guides CLI’s work and focuses on the most important levers for instructional improvement—the teacher, the content and the children.

Book Collections

Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day offers Americans a chance to remember and celebrate the life and legacy of the man who advanced the civil rights of black people through a campaign of civil disobedience.

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (MLK Day), we put together a small collection of books that highlight Dr. King’s life and the movement he inspired. Dr. King’s legacy continues to live on, from the impactful Civil Rights Movement to the present-day activism we see in communities across the country. These titles promise to provide insight into our history and inspire our future.

See full book collection here >>

News & Updates

Hard Rock Café Philadelphia Honors CLI during their 25th Anniversary Campaign

Hard Rock Café Philadelphia is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and in recognition of that, they are running a campaign called  25 days of 25 years. Inside of that campaign they will highlight local organizations whose work they respect, appreciate, and admire. They have chosen five organizations to highlight, and CLI is one of them.

Given that children are central to the work we do at CLI, on January 31st and February 1st, 50% of all children’s meals and children’s merchandise sold at Hard Rock Café Philadelphia will be donated to CLI. During those two days Hard Rock will also feature CLI on their website and social media, encouraging their patrons to donate. This is an exciting opportunity and we are honored to have been chosen by Hard Rock Café Philadelphia.
If you are in the Philadelphia area, please consider going to Hard Rock Café Philadelphia at 1113 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 on January 31st or February 1st to show your support for CLI

News & Updates

Gates Foundation and Improving Pre-K

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded CLI a grant to develop and refine a culturally responsive pre-kindergarten curriculum audit tool in partnership with the Boston University Center on the Ecology of Early Development (CEED). 
The tool will provide insights into which Pre-K curricula, particularly in relation to language and literary resources, are culturally responsive, anti-bias and anti-racist, and inclusive of the strengths and intersectional identities that Black and Latinx children bring to the classroom. Read more about the partnership with CLI, CEED and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

CLI’s 4-Star Review from Charity Navigator!

CLI is proud to announce that it has maintained its 4-star charity rating with Charity Navigator. A 4-star rating is given to organizations who score a 90 or above in Charity Navigator’s review and is considered “Exceptional.” Our overall score is calculated from multiple beacon scores: Accountability & Finance, Leadership & Adaptability, and Culture & Community.

Charity Navigator’s 4-star rating demonstrates an organization’s strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency Together with the review of CLI, the rating often serves as an introduction of our organization to new donors who are seeking to support a charity committed to literacy, early childhood education and social justice.

News & Updates

Run 4 Reading

Our NEW annual fundraising celebration, Run 4 Reading (R4R), will take place this fall. R4R will be a 5K, cross-market opportunity to support our work. The event will help CLI continue to transform early literacy instruction for Black and Latinx children across the country. Join us to support this movement! More details coming soon.


Gratitude Gallery

We are grateful to you, our community of supporters who have chosen CLI for your charitable giving over the past year—whether as a first gift, annual contribution, monthly recurring donations, or major gift.
Click here to see CLI's Gratitude Gallery. >>

Make a gift. Empower a child.

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.

Inspired by what you've seen and want to support CLI? Join our mailing list and learn more about our work and how your philanthropic investment can advance our literacy mission.