The Center for Literacy at Concordia University Chicago provides a space to engage in meaningful, innovative and instructive community-based literacy practices for youth and adults by connecting students and faculty with the greater Chicago-area community.

The Center addresses the persistent achievement gap in literacy and helps work toward educational equity. Sometimes referred to as a reading clinic, the center contributes to this goal by developing innovative and meaningful literacy instruction in four specific ways:

  • Youth: Provides rich, authentic literacy experiences for students in grades K-12
  • Adults: Offers innovative adult outreach and instruction
  • English Language Learners: Develops English as a second language (ESL) programs designed to disseminate youth and adult literacy skills to English language learners
  • Research and Best Practices: Acts as a resource for Concordia-Chicago students and faculty to engage in meaningful and authentic research and development of best practices, especially for students of the master of arts in reading education and the doctoral program in reading, language and literacy.


The Center for Literacy creates access to meaningful and innovative language and literacy-related experiences in research, education, practice, service, and scholarship. The Center fosters responsive collaborations, policy efforts, and advocacy programs for the greater community and university addressing language and literacy development.


Serving and leading through innovative, relevant literacy programs, research and scholarship.

The Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation (CLEF) and the Center for Literacy have partnered to offer Pathways to Excellence. CUC faculty and staff are now deeply involved in designing and delivering key programs and services to enhance the academic and financial position of the 25 Lutheran K-12 schools in the Chicago area’s crowded and competitive school market.

The program involves professional development programs to strengthen CLEF teachers’ foundational skills in literacy instruction. Individualized, in-classroom coaching support will also be offered to program participants.

“Given the enormous responsibility of K-12 classroom teachers regarding reading and language learning, we are honored to provide a layer of support in helping teachers address each individual student’s unique needs,” explains Dr. Dara Soljaga, professor and chair of the Department of Literacy and Early Childhood Education; and executive director of Concordia-Chicago’s Center for Literacy. “Through ongoing professional development and in-classroom coaching, we look forward to helping Lutheran schools become renowned hubs of innovative literacy and faith-based practice.”

The Center for Literacy’s Reading Clinic provides children ages 7-17 with authentic, meaningful and tailored experiences designed to develop their capabilities as young readers and writers. Educational literacy professionals and CUC reading graduate students provide structured sessions including:

  • individualized reading support based on various assessments
  • attention to reading, writing and speaking skills
  • one-on-one and group activities
  • hands-on, engaging activities

All assessments and instruction are supervised by a CUC Literacy Faculty member and will take place in our Center for Literacy.

Parents/guardians receive daily updates regarding the reading clinic activities and their child's performance and areas of growth. At the conclusion of the program, parents meet one-on-one with the educational professional to receive an informal individualized support document, including suggestions and resources for the child's continued literacy development.

The clinic culminates in a Celebration of Literacy, in which the children receive special certificates of completion and are given an opportunity to share a part of their Reading Clinic experience with family and friends.

The University has implemented the Reading Clinic in more than 20 of Chicago’s public, urban and suburban schools. The program has developed solid partnerships with local schools and has served over 400 students. 

Contact us now to enroll your school or your child. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.

Academic Programs

CUC offers a master's and doctoral level degree program for reading educators looking to strengthen their skill sets.

Reading Education: K-12 Specialist (MA)

Leadership: Reading, Language and Literacy Specialization (PhD/EdD)

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