The Read

CLI's Quarterly Newsletter / Spring 2024

First-Year Reflections: A Year of Growth, Learning and Inspiration

From the CEO / Dr. Diana Greene

As I reflect on my first year at Children's Literacy Initiative (CLI), I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude and inspiration. This has been a great year of learning about CLI and the incredible work we do. Transitioning from being a superintendent at a school district to being CEO of CLI has been an eye-opening experience, allowing me to witness the profound impact of our mission firsthand.  
I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to the board for their unwavering support and guidance throughout this journey. A special thanks to our organization’s founder, Linda Katz, whose vision and dedication laid the foundation for our work. This year marks our 35th anniversary, and our main goal, our north star, has been to honor Linda and Pat and the monumental efforts they undertook to bring Children's Literacy Initiative into being. 
Getting to know the organization and living its mission has been an enriching experience. 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. This mission is not just a statement but a call to action that resonates deeply with every team member. 

Dr. Diana Greene
Chief Executive Officer

Leadership Insights

Fostering Equity and Inclusivity Within Your School

Recently, CLI hosted a school leaders webinar series, Fostering Equity and Inclusion in Your Schools. This four-part series brought together Principals, Curriculum Specialists, and Educators to embark on a transformative journey toward fostering equity and inclusivity within their schools. The comprehensive series discussed how integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into all aspects of school life is crucial for every student to feel valued and celebrated.

During each session, CLI shared cutting-edge techniques to support this transformative journey, focusing on fostering an inclusive environment, empowering diverse learners, and utilizing equity-centered data discourse. Leaders left better understanding the pivotal role they play in shaping a vibrant culture of lifelong learning and driving change through effective feedback.
Learn more about the series and strategies for educators >
Learn more about each session, the techniques and resources shared and how to implement them. These powerful resources are a springboard for transformative, equity-centric leadership.

News & Updates

Meet Mychal Threets: CLI's New Literacy Ambassador and Social Media Sensation Advancing Equity in Education!

CLI is thrilled to announce the acquisition of Mychal Threets as its new Literacy Ambassador. Threets, a seasoned library professional and passionate literacy advocate, brings a wealth of experience from his tenure at Solano County Library in California, where he spearheaded community outreach, developed innovative digital strategies, and promoted equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Threets has also gained widespread recognition as a viral social media presence, known for his book recommendations and mental health advocacy. Threets is also partnering with PBS Kids on a new social media series to promote book joy. His alignment with CLI’s mission promises to advance the organization's goals of equity and literacy for all children.
Read more and see the full story about Mychal Threets' impactful journey and his new role with CLI.

News & Updates

CLI Welcomes Danielle Muckley – 

A Passionate Leader Driving Philanthropy and Educational Equity Forward

CLI proudly announces the appointment of Danielle Muckley as its new National Director of Philanthropy. With over 15 years of experience in philanthropy and partnerships, Ms. Muckley brings extensive expertise in developing strategic relationships with corporations, foundations, and individuals. "My dedication to anti-racism and educational equity perfectly aligns with CLI's mission of ensuring every child can read by third grade," says Ms. Muckley.
In her new role, she will lead the creation and implementation of a comprehensive development plan to expand CLI's philanthropic reach and impact. Ms. Muckley's passion for education equity and her experience in various leadership roles, including Director of Corporate Partnerships at Thrive Scholars, will be instrumental in driving CLI's mission forward. "We are thrilled to welcome Danielle to our team," says Diana Greene, CEO. "Her commitment to educational equity makes her an invaluable addition to CLI."
Read more and see the full story about Danielle Muckley's vision and plans for CLI.

News & Updates

A Sweet Way to Give Back: Bassetts Ice Cream Partners with CLI

The Development team is thrilled to announce a collaboration this month with Philadelphia’s beloved Bassetts Ice Cream (located in Reading Terminal) to support our impactful work. Your participation in this fundraiser will directly contribute to our community initiatives. Throughout the month, customers can indulge in a specialty-crafted milkshake called Brevity Blue, a shake with peanut butter sauce and blueberry jelly, topped with homemade whipped cream!  
Bassetts Ice Cream, a Philadelphia institution since 1861, is renowned for its rich heritage and unwavering commitment to the community. For every Brevity Blue shake sold until June 30th, Bassett’s will generously donate $3.00 to CLI. This timeless combination of creamy peanut butter and sweet jelly flavors evokes a sense of nostalgia, making it a beloved treat for patrons of all ages 
We are truly grateful for the opportunity to partner with Bassetts Ice Cream for this fundraiser. If you are in, near, or happen to be visiting Philadelphia this month, please drop by Bassetts Ice Cream to savor a delightful treat while supporting our work!  
Read the latest Axios Philadelphia article about the Bassett's and CLI partnership!

News & Updates

Thank You, Southern New Hampshire University!

Since 1932, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) has been at the forefront of innovation in higher education, earning national recognition for its unwavering commitment to student success. This legacy of excellence and dedication was recently demonstrated in an impactful way during their Employee Appreciation Week.
We are thrilled to share that the employees of SNHU chose to support our mission by making a generous financial contribution. We are honored to be one of two literacy organizations selected by SNHU’s employees for this special recognition.
This contribution is not only a testament to the generosity of SNHU’s staff but also a reflection of their belief in the transformative power of literacy. Their support will help us continue our work, making a lasting impact on the lives of the Black and Latinx children we serve.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to Southern New Hampshire University and its dedicated employees on behalf of our entire organization. Your support is invaluable, and together, we are making a difference.
Thank you, SNHU, for your commitment to education and for choosing to support our cause.
Read the latest Axios Philadelphia article about the Bassett's and CLI partnership!

Literacy Resources

Unlock the Joy of Reading: How Identity-Affirming Decodable Books Transform Early Literacy!

Decodable books are crucial for beginning readers, helping them practice phonics skills and experience the excitement of recognizing words. High-quality decodables should be comprehensible, instructive, engaging, and culturally affirming. They need a clear scope and sequence, consistent sound-spelling patterns, and repetition of phonics features.

Most importantly, these books must affirm the cultural and linguistic identities of their readers, creating a sense of belonging and fostering a love for reading. This powerful combination can lead to the exciting realization: "Wow! I can read!"

Read more and see the full story to discover how identity-affirming decodables can transform reading instruction and inspire young readers.

Beyond the Bookshelf

CLI's Initiative to Shape the Future of Education

The books we select for our classrooms and home libraries play a pivotal role in shaping children's understanding of themselves and the world around them. They convey messages about representation, cultural identity, and diversity, while also nurturing critical thinking skills and fostering a love for learning.

At CLI, we believe in the transformative power of literature to shape minds, empower educators, and inspire students. That's why we're excited to introduce our Beyond the Bookshelf campaign – an initiative dedicated to making a lasting impact on education through the power of literature.

CLI's book bundles for a better future go beyond the bookshelf. They are carefully curated collections that align with our commitment to providing Black and Latinx children with access to high-quality, anti-bias, identity-affirming literature.
Our bundles span diverse themes, topics, and genres, catering to varied interests and learning needs, and are available in multiple languages. Check out our latest bundles for AANHPI Heritage Month and PRIDE Month, with helpful reading guides to foster learning and sharing.
Beyond the Bookshelf is more than just a campaign – it's a movement towards a brighter, more equitable future in education. We invite you to join us in making a difference, one book, one bundle at a time.
Creating a Brighter Future Through A Love of Reading >

Get Involved


Join the Literacy to Liberation movement with CLI's Tie-Dye Collection, inspired by Mychal Threets, CLI's passionate Literacy Ambassador. Each purchase directly supports our mission and impactful work in promoting literacy and education equity nationwide.
When you buy a CLI Literacy to Liberation t-shirt, you're contributing to a transformative movement in education. Together, we're making a lasting impact by empowering teachers, supporting students, and advocating for educational equity through the power of literature.
These t-shirts symbolize more than just fashion; they represent hope and change for children, educators, and schools. With sizes for adults and children, you can proudly wear your Literacy to Liberation t-shirt as part of the movement toward cultural competency and equitable outcomes for all students.
Check out CLI's Limited-Edition Literacy to Liberation T-Shirts available in Youth and Adult sizes.

Community Events

Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers with Read Across America

In March, Mychal Threets joined CLI in to celebrate Read Across America Day with the National Education Association (NEA), Read by 4th, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania. Threets delivered an exciting, interactive read aloud embracing diversity in literature and honoring a nation of diverse readers. His engaging and powerful read recalled his own advocacy for children’s literacy and education, human rights, and social action, aligning with CLI’s vision for the future.
Read more and see the full story here.

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.

Some donors choose to be recognized anonymously. Contact us at if you prefer to be recognized anonymously.

Click here to see CLI's Gratitude Gallery. >>
Join our mailing list today and become a vital part of CLI's community of changemakers, literacy champions, and passionate advocates for equity in education. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children and empower generations to come.

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.
Give today