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    ILA Cosponsors Communitywide Reading Initiative in Florida

    By Clare Maloney
     | Apr 14, 2017

    News-2017-04-14_w300For the past 16 years, the One Book, One Community campaign in Central Florida has put thousands of books in the hands of local school children. This year, the International Literacy Association is cosponsoring the initiative along with the Orlando Sentinel Media Group and Publix.

    The premise for the program is simple:  one book is selected for students, parents, teachers, and other community members to read and discuss together through a series of events, all with the purpose of promoting literacy.

    The 2017 book selection is Frindle (1998, Atheneum) by Andrew Clements. The story follows fifth grader Nick Allen as he navigates the consequences of one ridiculous, yet seemingly harmless, classroom prank. Hilarity ensues after the entire class starts participating, as well as members of the whole town.

    The One Book, One Community campaign runs April 9 through May 16 and is expected to involve more than 100 schools. Throughout the initiative, students ages 5–12 can participate in reading events, word games, and literacy activities related to the book at library locations across Orange and Seminole counties.

    Click here for more information about the events.

    Clare Maloney is an intern at the International Literacy Association. She is currently seeking a BA in English from the University of Delaware.


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    Literacy Begins With Leadership

    By Clare Maloney
     | Apr 11, 2017

    Tweet_chat_image_4-2017_w300Fostering a literacy-rich environment begins with school leadership. School administrators provide direction and guidance in communities worldwide, setting both the standards to which teachers aspire and the goals for students to meet. But what does it mean for a school administrator to be a literacy leader? How can teachers help administrators embrace this role? How does the school environment change when administrators lead the charge for literacy? We will explore these points and more during this month’s #ILAchat.

    ILA’s 2017 What’s Hot in Literacy report uncovered some interesting findings. Respondents found the topic of School Administrators as Literacy Leaders to be not at all hot and of middling importance. However, Literacy in Resource-Limited Settings ranked high as important and somewhat hot, suggesting that members of the global community feel their leaders should act to help ensure all students obtain the literacy resources they need to succeed. Furthermore, Teacher Professional Learning and Development ranked as extremely important, but it was not a hot topic among respondents. It makes us wonder: If School Administrators as Literacy Leaders were a more valued topic, would Teacher Professional Learning and Development be a hotter topic?

    Join this month’s #ILAchat hosted by Superintendents Glenn Robbins (@glennr1809) and Randy Ziegenfuss (@ziegeran) to discuss the value of administrators as literacy leaders in your community and school.

    Glenn Robbins is Superintendent of Tabernacle Schools located in Tabernacle, NJ. He is a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and winner of the National Digital Principal of the Year Award for his advocacy for the power of technology as a learning tool. Additionally, he is a recipient of the Student Voice Award and a BAM Educator’s Voice Award. He is also a devoted husband and father.

    Randy Ziegenfuss is currently serving as Superintendent of the Salisbury Township School District located in Allentown, PA. Randy is a former classroom teacher and is currently teaching at Moravian College as a clinical adjunct professor of education. He has been recognized as Outstanding District Administrator for the State of Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania School Library Association and as Outstanding Leader of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology. He has also directed and produced many theater productions.

    Join us Thursday, April 13, at 8:00p.m. ET., and follow #ILAchat and @ILAToday to join the conversation!

    Clare Maloney is an intern at the International Literacy Association. She is currently seeking a BA in English from the University of Delaware.

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    Award-Winning Children’s Book Author and ILA General Session Speaker Carmen Agra Deedy on the Potent Power of Words

    By Carmen Agra Deedy
     | Apr 05, 2017

    CarmenAgraDeedy_w220There was a period in my life when words exhausted me; there are still days when I seek refuge in solitary walks, or cooking, or sketching, just to still the humming language center of my brain.

    A strange thing for a writer to confess, I suppose.

    And yet I love words. Adore words. But this was not always so.

    Spanish is my first language. My parents were Cuban refugees who settled in Decatur, GA, in 1964. English first entered our home by way of a mysterious and unwieldy item of furniture. My sister and I watched entranced as our father, amid fierce grunts and mild curses, negotiated this Pandora’s box up the winding, narrow stairs and into our attic apartment. I, a skittish 5-year-old, watched from the relative safety of the doorway.

    Our first television.

    The massive console looked like it could hold my sister and me in its unseen bowels. Shiny rabbit ears protruded from its boxy head. The convex glass screen brought to mind an all-seeing eye. It alarmed me at first—but then with the flick of a knob and a muffled “click,” the creature came to life. In an instant, I was hypnotized.

    Hercules became my favorite program. It was a cartoon version of the great mythological strong-man. I didn’t know any of that at the time, of course, but I loved watching his exploits. Then one day, my mother asked me to explain an episode; my English was sketchy, hers almost non-existent. I glanced toward the TV, then back to her. I paused, dumbstruck. In a moment of such clarity that I remember it still, I realized that early on, I had stopped trying to extract meaning from the strange sounds the characters made when they spoke; instead, I relied on what I saw in order to work out the story.

    So I lied to her. I told my mother what I thought the story was about and she, satisfied, left me alone. I know now that this was the birth of my first coping strategy as an auditory dyslexic. It would be 28 years before I was even partially diagnosed, but I would nonetheless one day learn that for most people, words were transmitted in the audio version of HD—but the words my brain processed were more like the hazy images from our old Zenith television.

    Words in my native language lacked crispness as well, but I had learned to compensate. If a word slipped by too quickly, or the frequency of a voice made it hard to understand, I guessed at the meaning by filling in the missing pieces.

    I never wondered why I understood some people more clearly than others, why some words were more distinct—no more than I wondered what a revolution was, nor how it had served to bring me to Decatur and, all too soon, to Oakhurst Elementary School.

    It was 1966 when I joined the phalanx of scrubbed and mostly eager first graders that filed into Miss Burns’s classroom. She spoke Southern-accented English, a dialect I have come to deeply love but that was incomprehensible to me that day. Where was the English of Hercules? The words our teacher spoke were melodic and pleasing, but she might as well have been reading the phone book. And then she handed out little books with soft watercolor images of children and animals. Dick and Jane (Penguin) was about to be my undoing.

    To read Carmen Agra Deedy’s full article, view the open access March/April issue of Literacy Today, ILA’s member magazine.

    Carmen Agra Deedy, the author of 11 books for children, including The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! (Scholastic), will be an Opening General Session speaker at the ILA 2017 Conference & Exhibits on Saturday, July 15. In addition, she will be included in the Primary-Level Putting Books to Work workshop later that day.

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    Standards 2017: Practicum/Clinical Experiences

    BY APRIL HALL
     | Mar 28, 2017

    A draft of ILA’s eagerly awaited Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017) will be available for public comment from April 17 to May 8. In the weeks leading up to the public comment period, we’ll take a look at the significant changes proposed in Standards 2017, which will be submitted for Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) approval in fall 2017 and published in early 2018. Once approved by CAEP, ILA’s new set of seven standards will become the ruler by which preparation programs for literacy professionals, specifically reading/literacy specialists, are measured.

    AutumnDodgeHeadShot_220
    Autumn Dodge

    Standard 7, Practicum/Clinical Experiences, is a new addition to the document. Never before have the Standards addressed clinical and field experience necessary for being a successful educator.

    Autumn Dodge, assistant professor at St. John's University in New York, was the lead writer on Standard 7 and said it was vital to add this aspect of teacher preparation to the document.

    "This new standard addresses what we see as the need to provide standards and expectations for practicum experience for the different roles," Dodge said. "We needed to define what practicum experiences are, differentiating between field and clinical experiences."

    Dodge said that those preparing literacy specialists, coaches, and coordinators indicated there was a need for guidance about possible practicum experiences for candidates for those roles, including ideas about ongoing mentoring or a network of colleagues to help specialized literacy professionals address challenges in their schools.

    "We commonly have those expectations for preservice teachers, but they are not as clear for specialized literacy professionals at universities," she said. The team received a waiver from CAEP to create and add Standard 7 to the specialized literacy professional roles. Diane Kern, committee cochair and associate professor at the University of Rhode Island, said this is the key reason the Standard was added.

    "For all specialized literacy professionals, we will require classroom experience," Kern said. "It can be their own classrooms or schools."

    "Programs will not be required to have an on-site literacy clinic (e.g., work in extracurricular literacy enrichment programs), although programs with clinical experiences are encouraged to continue this excellent way to prepare candidates to work with children and youths in the role of literacy interventionist." Such clinical experiences can also provide valuable coaching opportunities, under supervision, for novice specialists. Dodge and Kern agreed that an integral part of Standard 7 is allowing for blended learning or exclusively online studies.

    "That is a question teacher educators have been asking us, and we had to clearly define what experiences and supervision were necessary," Kern said.

    "There are a lot of ideas of how to use video clips and online media discussions between faculty supervisors and candidates. There still can be supervisor coaching online," Dodge said. "Candidates can video record their teaching experiences, share with faculty, supervisors, and their peers. Even online, there can be consistent reflection, critique, and revision of their practice."

    The writing team on Standard 7 was

    • Allison Swan Dagen, associate professor of Literacy Studies, West Virginia University
    • Beverly DeVries, professor of Reading, Southern Nazarene University, OK
    • Anne McGill-Franzen, professor and director of the reading center, University of Tennessee
    • Jeanne Schumm, professor emerita, University of Miami, FL

    Review all of Standards 2017 when they are posted and give your feedback during the open public comment period starting April 17.

    April HallApril Hall was editor of Literacy Daily. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has specialized in education, writing and editing for newspapers, websites, and magazines.

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    ILA 2017 Board Election Opens

    By ILA Staff
     | Mar 28, 2017

    BoardElection_w300The International Literacy Association (ILA) has commenced its annual election for its Board of Directors. Eligible ILA members are encouraged to vote for three at-large candidates and one vice president candidate. You can read about the candidates here

    The ILA 2017 Board Election will be conducted entirely online this year. Voting in the election is easy: Just visit the ILA Election page and follow the directions to cast your ballot.

    Individual ILA members with an active membership and a valid e-mail address will receive e-mail reminders with a link to the online ballot. Eligible ILA members who do not have valid e-mail addresses will receive instructions by mail for how they can vote online.

    All members must use their ILA member account sign-in information to cast their ballot.

    For assistance signing into your ILA membership account, please contact Customer Service at 800.336.7323 (U.S. and Canada) or 302.731.1600 (all other countries).

    For technical assistance with voting, please contact Election-America, Inc. at 866.384.9978.

    The newly elected Board members will begin their terms at the ILA 2017 Conference & Exhibits in Orlando, Florida, in July 2017.


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