No single gift is more precious and empowering

then the gift of literacy.

Center for Literacy EducationOur Story

Simply put, when students read more, their lives improve. Academic literacy rates are positively correlated to life expectancy, educational outcomes, and earning potential, while low literacy rates are negatively correlated to incarceration, dropping out, and unemployment. To open a book is to unlock a whole host of academic and professional opportunities that might not otherwise be available.

With this in mind, the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives founded the Center for Literacy Education (CLE) in 2017 with the generous support of a Notre Dame family from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The CLE’s goal is to transform literacy scholarship and practice in today's urban and multicultural urban schools. Led by inaugural director Dr. Ernest Morrell, a nationally known expert in literacy studies, the CLE especially targets students from vulnerable populations attending public and Catholic schools.


Our Beliefs

At Notre Dame’s Center for Literacy Education, we believe that literacy education should be...


Multiple literacies are not merely useful skills, but a vehicle for increased quality of life, particularly for our most vulnerable students.

A Matter of Social Justice

When people have limited literacy skills, their choices are limited. They cannot access all the information that empowers us to act as informed citizens.

University of Notre Dame Center for Literacy EducationEquitable

Our most vulnerable students experience the greatest need for access to excellent literacy instruction and resources. Historically marginalized students (often students of color, those learning English as a new language, and students from economically low resourced communities) are more likely to score lower on literacy assessments, which do not reflect their potential, intelligence, or desire to succeed. Inequitable access to high quality instruction and resources limit choices and opportunities for students.


Improving literacy is not simply about earning higher test scores; literacy develops the mind, body, and spirit of each child.


Students should have access to high quality diverse texts; they should read from authors who share their experiences, gain exposure to cultures different from their own, and learn how different social contexts affect characters like and different from themselves.

University of Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education - Our Mission

Our Framework

The model is grounded in 3 areas to create sustainable transformation:

1. Forming talent...

Including teachers and future Ph.D.s

2. Expanding access...

To high-quality literacy instruction in classrooms and out-of-school spaces such as summer camps and community literacy centers, both in the United States and internationally.

3. Conducting research...

To investigate and disseminate findings on effective literacy practices in K-12 classrooms.

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