For over two decades, CLI has worked in early elementary school classrooms to ensure that disadvantaged children learn to read and write. CLI’s programs have a strong track record of success, and I am proud to count myself among the organization’s earliest supporters.
What We Do
CLI offers professional development for pre-kindergarten through third grade teachers throughout the eastern United States. Our professional development promotes research-based practices for teaching reading and writing and is rooted in our guiding principles. Classroom by classroom, we strive to improve teachers’ content knowledge, instructional practices, and classroom environments. Teachers report raised expectations for their own instruction and for student achievement.
We establish Model Classrooms
CLI Model Classrooms are evidence of the remarkable success of rich literacy environments, exemplary teaching, and high expectations for students. Seeing this in action in a school similar to one’s own is integral to understanding the possibilities for student achievement in classrooms in even the most poverty-stricken neighborhoods.
CLI Model Classrooms are excellent sites for student teaching. We have a pilot project in Philadelphia pairing student teachers with our expert Model Classroom teachers thereby providing one of the best opportunities to ensure a successful career in teaching. CLI has established Model Classrooms in Philadelphia and the surrounding region, Newark and Camden (NJ), Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, DC.
We provide high-quality children’s books
Great children’s books are the heart and soul of CLI’s programs. Teachers use our carefully selected books to help children love reading for its own sake; learn letters, concepts about print, and vocabulary; develop an interest in authors and content themes, including math and science; and to invite children into the world of literacy.
We offer high-quality classroom book collections and related literacy products. Our collections are multicultural sets of fiction and nonfiction children’s literature – mostly award-winning books – selected for reading aloud, classroom libraries, lesson planning, and independent reading.
We help teachers create a literacy-rich classroom environment and improve classroom management skills
Sometimes referred to as the second teacher in the room, a quality classroom environment that promotes literacy through engaged, meaningful activity is an essential base for student achievement. The physical environment and learning climate are both integral to improving classroom management while meeting the needs of all children and fostering a love of learning.
A teacher’s ability to create an effective literacy environment, hold high expectations for all learners, and manage student behavior has a tremendous effect on the quality of instruction and student learning that happens every day.
At CLI, teachers learn about the interrelated elements of space, time, print, and books. They learn about the importance of the library corner and how to set up and manage centers for subjects such as science, math, writing, building blocks, and dramatic play, all with a focus on literacy as part of the activities. Teachers must have the ability to clearly plan and effectively manage small-group activities in learning centers in order to support children’s independence and cooperation, reinforce connections across the curriculum, and keep students engaged. The teacher is then able to meet with individuals or small groups while other children are learning at the centers.
We support the school-parent connection
Because of the importance of literacy at home, CLI offers parent workshops, complete with materials and books for parents to take home. We provide classrooms with Home Lending Libraries to help parents support their children’s learning and provide teachers with copies of Make Room for Reading to send home. These booklets, written by CLI for parents in an easy-to-read format with wonderful color photos, contain excellent advice on the importance of reading aloud to children at home.