Cardenas Photo

Officials from Target and CPS highlighted the Children’s Literacy Initiative program at a Wednesday morning event at Cardenas Elementary. In fall 2010, the program won a $22 million “validation” grant – the highest tier – in the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation contest. That funding brought the program to eight CPS schools, including Cardenas, last year. This year, a $500,000 grant from Target is expanding the program to three more schools, Armour, Manierre, and Brennemann.

“The amount of writing kids are doing, writing about reading, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said network Chief of Schools Stephen Zrike Jr. In the 3-year program, one classroom in each grade level K-3 becomes a “model classroom,” with extra resources and coaching to improve literacy instruction.

Pictured: 3rd grade teacher Elizabeth Rickey and coach Jennifer Ortiz lead students in first guessing the words being written on the board, then reading entire sentences aloud before sharing with the whole group what they learned from the activity.

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