About Us

We work with teachers to improve instruction so that children can become powerful readers, writers and thinkers.

CLI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides educators with training and coaching in the most effective practices for early literacy instruction for prekindergarten through third grade. Our workshops and institutes build teachers’ understanding of literacy and the art and science of teaching children how to read and write. By focusing on professional skills that improve over time and are not lost when administrations, buildings, or curricula change, CLI helps create a sustainable, school-wide culture of literacy that introduces students to the joys of reading, writing, and life-long learning.

We coach 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.

We stock classrooms

We stock classrooms with learning materials and collections of high-quality children’s literature (for classroom and take-home use) and extend our services with online professional development resources.

We provide workshops and seminars

To build teacher’s knowledge of literacy content and pedagogy.

CLI’s Innovative Program Design and Accomplishments

CLI’s proven theory of action shows that when teachers receive the right combination and intensity of training and coaching, they can become exemplary instructors. Our program design improves instructional standards for teachers and principals in the most cost effective way, providing training and job-embedded coaching, delivering long-lasting resources (classroom libraries, home lending libraries, literacy materials), and developing school leadership to sustain the work. The program is comprised of a first year for induction, a second year to strengthen implementation, and a third year to deepen practice to ensure sustainability.

CLI’s work has been validated by prestigious organizations and has garnered national attention:

  • The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High-Impact Philanthropy has re-affirmed CLI as an “exemplar agent” in improving early literacy education for philanthropists wanting to make a significant, long-term impact (2008-2014).

    An OMG Center for Collaborative Learning study showed that kindergartners and first graders in schools with CLI classrooms consistently outperformed peers on literacy skill assessments (2009).

  • Evidence of the value of CLI classrooms was confirmed by our receipt of a $21.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) in 2010. With this and funding from the private sector, CLI is implementing a $26 million program in four urban school districts (Philadelphia, Chicago, Newark and Camden,) over the five-year grant period.

    NonprofitInvestor.org, which works to improve philanthropic capital allocation using due diligence, research, and analysis, rated CLI a “Buy.” Citing our proven track record and impact model, they concluded that CLI demonstrates a clear impact with a high degree of transparency (2013).

  • CLI earned its third consecutive 4-star rating (out of 4 stars) fromCharity Navigator, showing adherence to good governance and fiscal responsibility. Only 12% of rated charities have attained this level, indicating that CLI outperforms most other charities in America.

  • CLI is a gold participant through the GuideStar Exchange. (2014)

  • In a randomized, control-group study, American Institutes for Research’s (AIR) preliminary results of our i3 project show that CLI is significantly impacting kindergarten early reading skills, teacher instructional practice and classroom environment in both kindergarten and first grade classrooms, as well as significantly impacting second grade reading skills (2014).

  • Harvard education professor Heather Hill called these results “welcome news” in an article in the March 7, 2014 edition of Education Week (the standard for education news). “Professional Development Pays Off for i3-Funded Program” described CLI’s project serving 11,750 kindergarten through third graders and 560 teachers, and the study’s positive interim results. Dr. Hill added, “The research seems well-designed, and employs several commonly used measures of classroom practices and student literacy as outcomes, which lends credibility to the study’s results. This information should prove useful to districts seeking to improve their early-grade literacy instruction state of research on professional development.”

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