LLINK: Language and Literacy Integration for the Negotiation of Knowledge

The Language and Literacy Instruction for the Negotiation of Knowledge (LLINK) framework combines data analysis, professional development workshops, and literacy coaching to support the examination and integration of instructional strategies, content knowledge, and leadership skills.

Teachers and administrators in participating schools are offered a holistic, inclusive and innovative literacy and language development framework. The project supports curricular alignment, pedagogical integration and support for English Language Learners (including native English speakers) in building a stronger, richer more diverse vocabulary and understanding of language.

The Big Shoulders Fund along with Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation (CLEF) and Concordia University Chicago’s (CUC) Center for Literacy seek partnerships with nine pre-kindergarten through eighth grade schools. Funded by the Chicago Community Trust, LLINK is a comprehensive, multi-year project designed to support teaching, learning and capacity-building. The initiative is based upon the school improvement and pedagogical principles outlined by the Chicago Community Trust.

Partner schools commit to a long-term, in-depth analysis of their particular and unique needs, a critical examination of the available resources, and constructive focus-group discussions on pedagogical and instructional-management techniques. A sociocultural framework that emphasizes purposeful talk, vocabulary development and close reading will serve as a common thread throughout the initiative. The framework:

  1. is explicit enough to create commonalties among the pedagogical approaches, terminology, and goals of each school; and
  2. is flexible enough to respond to the individual needs and resources of each school.


  • Strategic professional development to assist administrators and teacher leaders in the implementation of LLINK—an inclusive, holistic, and innovative language and literacy initiative
  • Layered support for teachers to authentically integrate literacy and language development into all content areas through the presentation of rigorous reading and writing experiences
  • Potential opportunities for teachers to enroll in Concordia University Chicago’s literacy and language programs
  • Participation in professional learning networks spanning Big Shoulders and CLEF schools

School Commitments

  • Multi-year, in-depth analysis of the school’s particular needs, resources and techniques
  • Implementation of the LLINK sociocultural framework for teaching and learning
  • Collaboration with the stakeholder partners and participating schools

With the LLINK team of specialists, partnering schools assimilate the language of sociocultural learning theory and identify foundational principles to ground literacy and language development practices.

Participating Schools

Currently, the Center for Literacy has partnerships with nine Chicago schools.


If your school would like to participate in the LLINK framework, or if you would like to sponsor a partnership, please contact Dr. Dara Soljaga at dara.soljaga@cuchicago.edu or (708) 209-3508.

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