CFL History


 The UIC Center for Literacy (CFL) works with children and families to ensure lifelong learning and upward-mobility through improved literacy and family engagement. Further, CFL provides literacy leadership locally, nationally, and internationally through research, policy work, evaluation studies, and advocacy.

CFL understands that a community is not just the sum of its struggles but also the hope of its future. We believe strongly in maintaining partnerships and empowering the communities we serve. Many one-time program participants have gone on to serve and/or become employed full-time within CFL.

Though we have made significant efforts in the fight to improve the lives of the families, communities, and other audiences we serve, we see the past 25 years as just the beginning and look forward to continued progress in the future.




Thought Leadership

  • Conducted research that led to effective literacy program implementations
  • Conducted evaluation studies of national and state literacy and early childhood initiatives
  • Informed local, state, and national literacy policy
  • Established CFL as a center of thought leadership in literacy at national and international levels

Educational Outreach

  • Served 6,857 Adult Education Students through ESL, ABE, and GED classes
  • Graduated 387 students with a GED

Family Support

  • Conducted workshops that served 38,579 parents
  • Facilitated approximately 125 workshops focused on children with autism and other developmental delays
  • Provided support to parents and Head Start staff through 113,161 resource room visits

Service and Volunteerism

  • Logged 405,900 volunteer hours
  • Engaged 199 Americorps members
  • Supported by 392 part-time volunteers


25 years from now, we see CFL as being known as a source for model programming and research related to urban literacy.

To accomplish this, it is important that we continue to:

  • Conduct and share research
  • Identify and secure sustainable funding
  • Develop our human resource access, capacity, and vitality
  • Build strong local partnerships
  • Maximize innovations in technology