Abell Salutes: Children’s Literacy Initiative

April 2001 / Salutes / Education

For helping poor children become successful students.

It is a challenge to prepare young children from disadvantaged school districts to enter school as ready to learn as their counterparts in affluent school districts. Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) has been working to meet this challenge in Baltimore City for three years; its programming provides children’s books of a very high quality, professional development for teachers so that they are able to instruct more effectively, and supportive, literacy materials for classroom enrichment.

After three years, it’s safe to say, CLI works.

Here are the results of three tests administered to the students participating in the CLI program, with comparisons to the school system’s goals, and with children participating in the Head Start program.

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) gains over time are uncommon for children of any background, because the test determines a child’s vocabulary knowledge with respect to other children his/her age. Thus, in order for a child to increase her PPVT score from 89 to 100 in the course of a year, she has had to learn more words than child who had a score of 100 and kept it.

The Abell Foundation salutes young Children’s Literacy Initiative for leveling the playing field— for helping to provide children from high poverty neighborhoods with the same opportunity to succeed in school as  their affluent peers.