Children’s Literacy Network Celebrates 30 Years

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From CLN

When schools started to close in early 2020, no one knew how long students would be without classroom instruction. Transitioning to online learning required internet access, computers, and for many elementary school students, often a parent to help.

For students in underserved communities, the risk of falling severely behind was immense. The pandemic has exacerbated the needs of at-risk families and has shown that services targeting multiple needs are essential. In addition to facing racial injustice, food insecurity, poverty, medical and mental health crises, parents have been overwhelmed by the difficulties of distance-learning and connecting to teachers and schools. In the fall, educators and families will still be facing the pandemic’s long-term consequences.

Children’s Literacy Network recognized the enormous challenges area students would face. They couldn’t help students through their traditional in-person programming, such as Family Literacy Interactive Program (FLIP) nights, so the organization developed a strategic plan so they could continue in their mission to help area children when they needed it most.

Throughout this past year, CLN has been working with community partners through their Literacy Pack Project and their BookPALS programs, both of which have been very successful in providing for students’ literacy needs during this very challenging time. CLN has also expanded beyond Washtenaw County into more counties in Southeast Michigan, partnered with more schools and other community agencies, and increased equitable opportunities for more low-income children to develop a love of reading and succeed in school.

Children’s Literacy Network has been focused on this mission to provide equitable opportunities for children to develop a love of reading and books now for 30 years. Through its five literacy-based programs integrated throughout Washtenaw County and beyond, CLN has impacted 400,000 low-income children, distributing more than a million dollars in new high-quality books, and creating home libraries for families who need them most.

To celebrate its 30-year anniversary, the Children’s Literacy Network will host its marquee “A Night for the Books” event on September 9, 2021, in downtown Ann Arbor.

Tickets can be purchased at http://www.childrensliteracynetwork.org/nightforbooks. Join CLN to celebrate 30 years of making a difference in childrens’ lives and help them further support area teachers, who are requesting additional programming and books as they welcome students back to the classroom this fall.

Original artwork by Cathy Gendron.

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