The UIC Center for Literacy is a public service and research center that works to improve literacy education, policy, and research at the local, state, and national levels.
We provide FAmily STart (FAST) Learning and Support Services to empower and strengthen Chicago Early Learning families. We provide access to high-quality, research-based learning opportunities in collaboration with community partners, most importantly the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services and their early learning sites.
We provide leadership and technical assistance to Chicago area schools and community-based organizations for the purpose of enhancing the quality of literacy services. We also work with public and private entities to formulate policies that support effective literacy programs.
The Center responds to issues in literacy education by:
- Serving as a public clearinghouse for literacy information;
- Establishing partnerships with external agencies and university departments;
- Contributing to enhanced graduate education for future leaders in literacy education; and
- Creating innovative, research-based school and community programs that serve as exemplary models for public practice.
Our activities are especially focused on helping to reduce literacy as a barrier to full societal participation for all individuals.
What we Do
We provide coaching, mentoring and on-the-job training for adults and teens. We also provide meaningful opportunities for graduate students to get involved through research, evaluation and teaching. We provide resources and training for teachers.
SERVICE AND VOLUNTEERISM
We offer a variety of volunteer opportunities for individuals of different backgrounds and skill sets. Volunteer opportunities available in through our AmeriCorp & Uplift program and adult language and literacy tutoring programs.
We provide fundamental adult education in high-needs areas. These services include ESL and GED. We also work with parents in the areas of family literacy and working with special needs children through our FLAME and RCADD programs as well as family literacy workshops.
We conduct research that drives citywide program implementation and informs national literacy policy. CFL is a center of thought leadership in literacy. We conduct conferences and symposia.
Our vision at FAST Services is to break the cycle of poverty and collectively strengthen communities through family learning services. We specialize in adult education and career transition, autism and developmental delays, family services delivery, and parenting education specific to topics of employability, family literacy, financial literacy, targeting our offerings to Chicago Early Learning families and professionals.
We apply a dual-generational/family literacy approach, honoring parents’ cultural heritage, home language/s, and strengths as they access our services in order to best support their children’s development. Please visit our FAST Services program websites to learn more!
Adult Education and Career Transition
In the Adult Education and Career Transition program, we provide free classes and tutoring to parents interested in continuing their basic education, learning English, or obtaining their high school equivalency.
RCADD (Resource Center for Autism and Developmental Delays)
The Resource Center for Autism and Developmental Delays provides support for those who care for, teach and serve children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder or other developmental delays.
Parent Youth Outreach
Parent Youth Outreach provides workshops and special events for Chicago Early Learning sites & families. Support services for parents and youth include: Financial literacy, family literacy and employment readiness workshops. Male involvement initiatives such as Dad’s Reading Daily & 24/7 Dads & Guardians. During the summer, PO transitions to support youth employment for 150+ teen literacy coached and CHA Safe Summer Ambassadors.
The Social Services program provides a wealth support services including : Parent Resource programming which promotes the engagement and involvement of Chicago Early Learning (CEL) families by providing ongoing professional development and technical support to CEL Staff. Adult Learners enrolled in FAST Adult Education programs receive case management and career navigator support.
Become a HeadStart or EarlyStart Family
Gads Hill is now accepting children for their Head Start/ Early Head Start Home Visiting, and Center-Based programs for Chicago families with children ages 0 – 7.
Learn about availability in their Brighton Park, North Lawndale and Chicago Lawn locations. Space is limited, enroll your child with them today! Click the link below or call at 773-521-1196
CFL FAST Programs
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