Welcome to the inaugural issue of Children’s Literacy Initiative’s quarterly newsletter!

From the CEO - Joel Zarrow, Ph.D.

Children's Literacy Initiative is busy helping young students learn to read in classrooms across the country and want to make sure that we keep you, as a valued CLI supporter, in the know. We will use this newsletter to share details of our work with teachers, highlight standout partners, and provide stories and insights for you to share with your family, like the specially curated list of Back to School Book Recommendations below

This year, we’re also celebrating 30 years of service! We kicked off the festivities with a Back to School Reading Festival in our home town of Philadelphia. Earlier this month, children and their families joined us at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse for story-time with children’s authors and other fun activities, such as bookmark decorating, face painting, and balloon animals. Check out the photos below.

After you’ve finished this issue, make sure to check out our new website at You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy Reading!


Literacy Champion: Matilda Bray & Family

Children’s Literacy Initiative Receives $4M Five-Year Grant from U.S. Dept. of Ed. to Improve Preschool Instruction & Achievement

Matilda Bray, 12, of Newtown, Pa., is about to publish a chapbook of poetry. With help from her family, Matilda crowd-funded the cost of publication and chose Children’s Literacy Initiative as the recipient of a portion of funds! Matilda chose us so other kids could experience the joy of reading and writing, just as she does. Read more.

Gratitude Corner

Children's Literacy Initiative recognizes the following generous major donors for their contributions from July through September 2018.

  • Allen H. & Selma W. Berkman Charitable Trust
  • Baker McKenzie
  • Boone Family Charitable Fund
  • Capital Group
  • Karen Cheeseman
  • Cornerstone Foundation - Brad and Kate Vogt
  • Cowen Family Foundation
  • Donley Foundation
  • Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund
  • Foley & Lardner LLP
  • Bonnie and Lon Greenberg
  • Guildford Publications
  • Heritage Planning Partners
  • ITW Alpine
  • James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation
  • Julie and Richard Jaffe
  • Mary and Justin Klein

Fall Into These Great Books

Back-to-school season is the perfect time to explore new books with children. Download this free list of fall book recommendations, hand-picked by our book curator, Galen Longstreth. The list is organized by grade level for your convenience.


30th Anniversary Reading Festival: Literacy Takes Center Stage

Children's Literacy Initiative had the privilege to host children’s authors Rosemary Wells, Angela Dominguez, and Tad Hills, who each read and signed books for children at CLI’s 30th anniversary celebration on September 8th in Philadelphia. View more photos by searching the hashtag #CLI30.


Author Angela Dominguez shares her bilingual book, “HOW ARE YOU? ¿CÓMO ESTÁS?” featuring animals trying to communicate in English and Spanish.


Author Rosemary Wells reads from her book, “Felix Stands Tall,” which teaches children how to stand up for themselves.


Tad Hills encourages children to tell their own stories while signing his book, “Rocket Writes a Story.”


Elaborate face paint and balloon creations were a big hit for children!