A CHILDREN’S LITERACY INITIATIVE COACH HELPING TO TEACH A LESSON ABOUT COLONIAL TIMES TO AN URBAN CLASSROOM OF THIRD GRADERS FOUND THE LESSON BROUGHT TO A HALT WHEN NOT A SINGLE STUDENT UNDERSTOOD THE WORD HARVEST OR WHAT A CARPENTER DID.
Moments like these illustrate the literacy gap between impoverished children and their more privileged peers. The mission of Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI), a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Philadelphia, is to close the literacy gap by addressing the needs of underprivileged students.
Funding from the Subaru of America Foundation enables CLI to continue and expand a variety of programs that improve classroom instruction, increase student literacy test scores, and instill a love of books in children. Major projects include Model Classrooms, which demonstrate effective educational practices, as well as the implementation of Blueprint for Early Literacy®, CLI’s pre-kindergarten curriculum.
Since low-income children often lack books and exposure to rich vocabulary in their homes, gaining a strong literacy foundation early in school is vital. The most critical years are pre-kindergarten through third grade. As Linda Katz, CLI’s Executive Director, pointed out, “Through third grade, a child learns to read. After third grade, a child must be able to read to learn.”
Fortunately, CLI is helping to raise student achievement. Dramatically improved standardized literacy test scores and enthusiastic teacher feedback attest to the success of CLI’s programs.
“I can honestly say I am not sure what I would do without CLI – it has saved me,” said a kindergarten teacher in Philadelphia. “I have been freed from the bonds of being a ‘normal teacher’... Most importantly, my children love books and they are learning so much!”
For more information about CLI, visit www.cliontheweb.org.