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Our case for support

Help us provide Black and Latinx children the high-quality & culturally sustaining literacy instruction they deserve.




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From Literacy to Liberation.

For Black and Latinx children, learning to read is more than skill development – it is an act of liberation. Racial inequity deepens when we fail to teach Black and Latinx children to read. CLI is part of a movement to end colorblind instruction and drive culturally responsive pedagogy practice that centers Black and Latinx children and amplifies reading outcomes.

OUR MISSION

Transforming Early Education

Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) 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.

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Ongoing support from donors and volunteers has made Children’s Literacy Initiative a leader in early childhood literacy and teacher professional development.

Since our founding in 1988, CLI has helped more than 25,000 teachers deliver quality PK- 5 early literacy instruction to more than 700,000 children. But it’s not enough. We need your support to build on our impact. We know we can do more.

Here’s our path to impact.


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:
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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.
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Stocking Classrooms

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

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

STUDENT IMPACT

Transforming Early Education

For Black and Latinx children, learning to read is more than skill development – it is an act of liberation. Learn more about the students we serve and the impact we have in school districts across the country. 

See Our Student Impact here >>
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As a national nonprofit advancing large-scale impact, CLI is uniquely poised to amplify literacy outcomes for Black and Latinx children across America.

Our work with partners in 250 schools, across 6 states has helped transform practice at the instructional core – between teacher and student.

Our Scope

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6

States

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250

Schools

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104,419

Children

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5,894

Educators

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CLI is a high-impact literacy partner

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.


TESTIMONIALS

In Their Own Words

See what CLI partners say about our work and how we work together to transform early literacy and improve learning in their district.

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At CLI, our Coaches are Changemakers




 
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CLI literacy coaches (Early Literacy Specialists) are highly skilled professionals who each day advance our mission.

This body of educator trainers are confirmed champions of early literacy and work alongside classroom teachers through job embedded coaching to advance classroom reading outcomes.
In partnerships with teachers, children, and parents, coaches also drive outsized outcomes through trainings, workshops and online learning programs that impact the instructional core and sharpen teacher practice.
The video below will give you insight into how coaches partner with teachers to amplify literacy outcomes as told by Christina, a CLI literacy coach.

TESTIMONIALS

In Their Own Words

Teachers see CLI as vital partners in helping children achieve reading success. But don't take our word for it! Watch the video below to hear what teachers are saying about working with CLI.

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We are changing the discourse about the literacy gap.




 
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Literacy attainment is a challenge faced by historically marginalized communities.

Through no fault of their own, Black and Latinx children face disproportionality lower literacy outcomes than their white peers. The data shows these stark differences:

  • Inequitable approaches to literacy instruction leave 80% of Black and Latinx children unable to reach reading proficiency by the end of 3rd
  • Early literacy instruction centers colorblind pedagogy and deficit-based assessments, offering few mirrors and windows for students of color. 
  • Our quest to disrupt systematized racism in education must reframe early literacy as a practice of societal liberation, a freeing from oppression.  
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We are transforming early literacy instruction and outcomes.




 
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We have comprehensive instructional tools and resources and Culturally Sustaining approach to make generational shifts to early literacy instruction and outcomes.

Drawing on 30 years of validated results, CLI and partners will scale and disseminate an anti-racist, early literacy instructional model built on powerful, culturally sustaining pedagogy and asset-based assessments.

CLI will demonstrate how teachers expert in anti-racist, early literacy instruction elevate Black and Latinx student learning and celebrate their identities and cultures. 

CLI is transforming teacher preparation and early literacy instruction, embedding social justice at the onset of every student’s literacy journey, creating a clear and durable pathway toward racial equity.

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Expanded and Deepened Learning Impact

Chicago Literacy Intervention Data 

  • (2018-2019) - Students who receive supplemental CLI intervention services tend to increase their reading level at rates at least as fast as grade level expectations, and receiving intervention for multiple years augments this effect, which enables students to return to standard classroom instruction sooner.
  • (2020-2021) - Students who are receiving supplemental literacy intervention with CLI and had two consecutive months of recorded Running Records grew at a median value of 1 level in a month. In comparison, students in grades K, 2, & 3 are expected to grow 3 levels over the course of an entire school year, grade 1 students are expected to grow 6 levels in the same time period.

Houston Impact

  • (2018-2019) - When compared to both HISD overall and control schools, 3rd grade HISD students in CLI treatment schools saw greater growth in proficiency and decrease in students in the lower tier on state standardized literacy assessments between 2015-16 and 2018-19.
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Passaic 3rd Grade PARCC ELA/NJSLA (2015-19)

  • State ELA student assessment data from Passaic City School District suggests that a robust, multiyear and district-wide partnership with CLI helps moves students out of the lowest performance tiers and into proficiency at a much higher percentage than “business-as-usual" 
  • From the year before CLI’s partnership with Passaic City School District to the 2018-19 school year, the percentage of 3rd grade students reaching proficiency on state literacy assessments increased by 15 percentage points (14% to 29%), which is over twice the growth when compared to 3rd grade students in the state of New Jersey overall, who saw an increase of six percentage points (44% to 50%)*.
  • From the year before CLI’s partnership with Passaic City School District to the 2018-19 school year, the percentage of 3rd grade students scoring in the lowest performance tier on state literacy assessments decreased by 9 percentage points (38% to 29%), which significantly outpaced the decrease seen in 3rd grade students in the state of New Jersey overall, who saw a decrease of one percentage point (15% to 14%)*.

Enduring Professional Development
for Teachers

Evaluation of the ELS Initiative, Report #2

Teacher Benefits and Changes to Practice (2020)

  • Almost all teachers (96%) reported they felt at least “a little successful” in at least one practice area as a result of coaching. 
  • The District-wide average CPEL score (across all practice areas) increased from developing (1.4) to approaching proficiency (2.6).
  • On average, the District-wide percentage of teachers considered “proficient” across all practice areas increased 30 percentage points. 

Research for Action (RFA): Pre-K Evaluation

  • Teachers who used Blueprint materials and approaches to instruction reported that their children learned a variety of foundational and higher-level skills for reading and writing. 
  • Teachers described how the routines and intentionality of Blueprint supported children’s engagement, including the specific elements of Message Time Plus and Intentional Read Aloud
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With your support, together we will empower the next generation of joyful readers today.




 
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CLI’s 5-year strategic plan delivers the pathway for deepening, enabling, and expanding our national impact so we can partner with more schools, teachers to amplify literacy outcomes for children around the US.

Our Literacy to Liberation Impact Fund supplies the flexible funding for that expansion, which enables us to build impact at the child, teacher, caregiver, community, industry and systems level.

CLI’s Literacy to Liberation Impact Fund moves our mission forward by:

  • Leveraging resources to proactively advance instructional practice.
  • Building the capacity of our growing markets to deepen impact with existing school districts and LEAs
  • Making prudent investments to fuel our programs in times of budgetary contraction.
  • Designing and iterating innovative instructional approaches that center Black and Latinx children and celebrate their identities and cultures.
  • Maintaining best-in-class stewardship to optimize operational efficiency and maintain the trust of all CLI donors
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FY2019 Consolidated Financials

Revenue

Private Philanthropy

$3,981,545

Government

$5,580,323

School District Contracts

$24,009,558

Investment Income

$148,820

Total Revenue

$33,720,246

Expenses

Private Philanthropy

$27,433,511

Government

$2,456,595

School District Contracts

$1,477,096

Total Expenses

$31,367,202

FY2018 Consolidated Financials

Revenue

Private Philanthropy

$2,655,099

Government

$5,664,977

School District Contracts

16,277,779

Investment Income

$120,204

Total Revenue

$24,696,059

Expenses

Private Philanthropy

$21,737,800

Government

$1,996,853

School District Contracts

$1,368,402

Total Expenses

$31,367,202

Contact Us

Ensure you stay up-to-date with the latest news, impact reports, donor events, and much more.

Download Children's Literacy Initiative's Case for Support!

Download Case for Support >>