Who We Are

Children’s Literacy Network, is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) grassroots organization founded in 1991 by a group of educators dedicated to promoting the benefits of literacy. The mission of the Children's Literacy Network (CLN) is to ensure that all children in our community have an equal opportunity to develop a love of reading and books. We are a volunteer-based nonprofit agency in Washtenaw County, Michigan dedicated to closing the book and reading achievement gap to keep low-income students from falling further behind their more affluent peers. CLN accomplishes this through innovative programming at the early childhood and school-age levels.

We are proud to be an active participant in the Cradle to Career Initiative which is focused on meeting children's needs throughout their educational and developmental stages. CLN is strongly aligned with this effort through every program we offer: CLN takes an active role in making sure children are ready to succeed in kindergarten; in ensuring all children will read proficiently by the end of 3rd grade; and in supporting the overall goal, that all youth will graduate high school.

Core Beliefs

We believe

  • being able to read is the foundation of success in school and to a great extent, in life.
  • in promoting the learning and loving of reading at all age groups.
  • it is never too early to start reading to children. We encourage reading to newborns.
  • it is never too late to develop a love of reading.
  • in providing multicultural books with the belief that children need to see themselves depicted in the books they read.
  • reading to a child includes an important emotional bonding experience.
  • in focusing on low-income families since they often do not have the means to have many books in their homes.
  • in striving to include an educational element in all of our programs rather than simply giving books away.
  • our mission is best served through community partnerships and collaborations.

Points Of Pride

  • Over 85 volunteers carried out our programs, staffed events, provided office support, and served on our Board.
  • Volunteers contribute more than 2,500 hours each year.
  • 36 partner organizations distribute our books to children in Washtenaw County.
  • The Read to Kids program reaches over 500 families, with over 5000 books. Parents log over 100,000 minutes of reading a month with their child.
  • Our goal in 2016 was to replicate the Summer Book Program in four new schools. We increased our book distribution by 56% in just one year!
  • With the SICT program, CLN has reached over 500 families each year and sent over 1200 books.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit us at: www.childrensliteracynetwork.org.

Mothers & Babies

Volunteers assemble baby welcome packets for at-risk mothers. Each packet contains a baby board book, information on the value of reading, and practical tips for a baby’s healthy development. Over 800 packets are distributed each year, through partnerships with Washtenaw County Public Health Dept. and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.

“I never knew a two-month old would listen to a book! My baby seems to actually look at the pictures!” – New mother who received books

Read to Kids

Parents at local Head Start programs earn free books for the whole family by reading aloud with their children ten times each month. CLN distributes 3000+ books annually through this longtime reading incentive program. Check out our Wish List of quality books for early childhood.

“My students can’t wait for the beginning of the month book deliveries. And taking home books for their siblings is a big deal for many of them. This program is great!” -Head Start teacher

Staying in Closer Touch

This program takes place at three correctional facilities in Washtenaw County. Volunteers work one-on-one with incarcerated parents to read a book aloud and make a voice recording. The parent’s children then receive a CD of the recording, a copy of the book, and a greeting card. In this way, books help a family “stay in closer touch”.
“This program is much more than books. It is an important connection with your loved ones. Even if you are not home with them, this gives them a part of you.” -SICT Parent

Summer Book Program

The Summer Book Program provides elementary students throughout Washtenaw County with eight self-chosen books to take home and read during the summer. The books are at an appropriate reading level and of high interest to the students so as to invite them to want to read. “Few interventions hold such promise for narrowing the growing reading achievement gap between low- and high-socioeconomic-status students.” -Dr. Nell Duke, Professor of Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of Michigan.