Sustaining a culture of literacy throughout communities. Programs, resources, links, and more.
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Service Learning/ Community Connections

As our country and society deal with all the ramifications of this election cycle, CLiF is announcing a new Community Building grant. This new grant opportunity is intended to build connections between nonprofits or other organizations and the community through reading and writing. Based on successful models of community partnership programming, CLiF’s suggested community partnerships are a Senior Buddies Reading Program, Reading with Animals, and Pen Pals. There is also opportunity to design your own community partnership program using CLiF’s idea bank. This grant provides an on-site library valued at $500, a training session with a CLiF professional that gives tips for sharing books, a book giveaway where all program participants select two new books to keep, and additional funding (up to $250) to cover program expenses.
CLiF’s programs have evolved over time to focus on building relationships between diverse organizations that can collaborate to not only improve literacy skills but also make reading and writing fun for all. This grant encourages long-term partnerships that can also launch service-learning projects.
Service learning is “a teaching method that incorporates community involvement into course work.”  Some of its features include:

  • Learning by doing.
  • Time spent working with a community-based organization becomes part of the students' homework.
  • Community serves as a "lived text" for the class—another powerful source of information to complement course readings, lectures, and discussions.
  • Includes reflection activities.*
  • It can be modified for different ages and learning styles.**
  • Issues can focus on local and/or global issues with an appropriate community partner.***

What are the benefits?****
Students Gain:

  • 21st century skills: critical-thinking, problem-solving, leadership, decision-making, collaboration, and communication.
  • Real-world experience connected to academic subjects.
  • Greater sense of the purpose of learning.
  • Deeper understanding of themselves and empathy and respect for others.
  • Opportunities to explore skills and interests and to network for career readiness.
  • Guided practice in taking action as socially responsible global citizens.
  • Increased self-efficacy as they address community needs.

Schools Gain:

  • Deeper connection between academic knowledge and real-world applications.
  • Increased pro-social behavior and student engagement.
  • An effective drop-out prevention strategy. The change of scenery can help with retention of more traditional learning.
  • A focus for school improvement.
  • Improved school climate.
  • Positive school-community relationships.

Communities Gain:

  • Energy and creativity of youth in addressing community needs.
  • Opportunities to build positive relationships between community members and schools.
  • New perspectives on youth as assets, not liabilities.
  • New generation of caring and experienced citizens, activists and volunteers – tomorrow’s civic leaders.
  • Increased public awareness of key issues.

Additionally, programs can address growing concerns among educators and researchers:

  • Increase opportunities to incorporate active and outdoor learning.
  • Harvard researchers looked at the skills needed to be president – collaboration, problem solving, adaptability, communication, and imagination - all of which are improved through service learning.
  • Time, not often available in a traditional school activity, to make real connections with others.

The literacy connections abound – from reading materials in preparation to writing activities based on community stories.  
What possibilities for making our world a better place!


CLiF News

View our new video on our Children of Prison Inmates program.

CLiF Grants NOW OPEN -
Year of the Book 2017-2018 (deadline - February 8, 2017)  
Rural Libraries 2017-2018 (deadline - April 5, 2017) 
NEW Community Building grants (deadline January 17, 2017) 

For All

Wonderland by Steven Johnson – why we should follow the fun.

STEAM resources.

Three activities to help kids deepen their understanding of gratitude.

What makes a children’s book good?

Banning the tablet is best!

Using fictional characters as role models.

Understanding the science behind reading crucial. 

Join CLiF's blog. Recent posts on storytelling activities, books to build empathy, talking about politics, graphic novel recommendations.

For Teachers

Shifting from parent involvement to family involvement.

Using sustainability for school engagement.

Sculpting words to improve reading ability.

Novel writing for middle school students.

In Lift Every Voice, a collection of essays by the 2016 Fishman Prize winners, four top teachers share the strategies they use to connect with and empower students, including bringing cultural relevance to the classroom.

The “right” kind of nudges for helping underachieving kids. 

For Librarians

Man Booker Prize finalist Ali Smith's collection Public Library and Other Stories, an assemblage of genre-bending narratives and testimonials by fellow library lovers

Start an intergenerational coloring program.

Public Libraries are vital for families.


For Parents

Why parents should get out of the way of children’s natural drive to learn through play and observation of the world.

Using the grocery store as a learning tool.

For Early Educators

Picture books and building language.

Reading ability predicted by sound recognition.

Program Ideas

Research shows relying on GPS is altering our brains. Here are some program and book ideas around maps. Or use this map of classic books locations as a model for an activity. Use this book list of adventure books for inspiration.


5 tech grants.

Grant writing for beginners series.

Grant for paint to freshen a school or classroom

Education grants.

Upcoming CLiF Events

Ideas, contributions, or questions for the Community Update?
Contact Meredith Scott, CLiF program director.

Copyright © 2016 Children's Literacy Foundation, All rights reserved.

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