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    ILA Announces 2019 Conference Speakers

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Feb 20, 2019

    ila2019-registrationChelsea Clinton tops the list of notable speakers at the International Literacy Association (ILA) 2019 Conference, to be held in New Orleans, LA, October 10–13, 2019. Clinton, a longtime champion of early learning, will take the main stage on Friday, October 11 to discuss the connection between literacy and advocacy, as well as her newest book, Don’t Let Them Disappear.  

    Scheduled for publication on April 2, 2019, Don’t Let Them Disappear will introduce young readers to a selection of endangered animals and offer tips on how to help save them from extinction. Following her address, Clinton will participate in an interactive Q&A moderated by 2018 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year Kimberly Eckert.

    For the 2019 conference, ILA, a global advocacy and membership organization advocating for evidence-based literacy instruction and equitable educational policies, will focus on creating a thriving culture of literacy in schools, districts, and communities.

    Other keynotes include Pedro A. Noguera, distinguished professor of education at the University of California–Los Angeles, who will draw on his body of research to discuss how educators can provide all students with an equitable and empowering education; Hamish Brewer, an unconventional middle school principal from Fredericksburg, VA, whose educational philosophy is “be relentless”; and Renée Watson, a New York Times bestselling author who facilitated poetry workshops with New Orleans youth in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

    Clinton also has ties to the New Orleans community. In summer 2018, she helped launch a local “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read and Sing” campaign—a Too Small to Fail initiative of the Clinton Foundation—that provides parents and caregivers with resources to boost early brain development and language skills. In Louisiana, nearly half of all children (46%) enter kindergarten unprepared, lagging in critical language, reading, and social-emotional skills.

    “As a person and a public figure, Chelsea has been outspoken about her early love of reading and how that shaped her future success,” says ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “Her work demonstrates that growing a culture of literacy takes place outside of school as well as within it.”

    The ILA 2019 Conference will bring together thousands of literacy educators, professionals, and advocates from around the world to connect with and learn from leaders in the field and exchange ideas, best practices, and resources for literacy instruction. To learn more, visit ilaconference.org.

    Alina O'Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily.

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    ILA Now Accepting Proposals for ILA Intensive: Nevada

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Dec 11, 2018
    ILA Intensive: Nevada

    ILA is accepting session abstracts for ILA Intensive: Nevada, a two-day professional learning event focused on recognizing and addressing biases in literacy instruction, now through January 6, 2019.

    Designed and delivered by literacy educators, Intensives offer more personal, in-depth, and hands-on learning experiences where participants will learn the latest research and strategies while connecting and networking with like-minded practitioners.

    The upcoming Intensive, taking place June 21–22, 2019, in Las Vegas, NV, is designed to help educators create classroom and school environments that are diverse, inclusive, affirming, and culturally sensitive.

    ILA encourages abstract submissions that provide attendees with practical skills and tools they can immediately apply in their practice. Submissions should demonstrate a clear connection to the theme of Equity and Access to Literacy; highlight current research and best practices; and include participatory elements. Please review the submission guidelines for more detailed instructions for abstract submission.

    All presenters are responsible for their ILA Intensive: Nevada registration fees and any expenses associated with the presentation, including attendance at the event. Note that due to the small size of the program and the interactive format of this event, the selection process will be highly competitive.

    Click here to learn more about ILA Intensive: Nevada. For questions related to the event or the abstract submission process, contact intensives@reading.org.

    Alina O’Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily.

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    Key Ingredients for a Successful ILA 2019 Conference Proposal

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Sep 24, 2018

    Conference Proposal GuideILA’s annual conference is a great forum to share your research and findings, network with prominent individuals in your field, and put your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in literacy education. Because of this, our proposal submission is a highly competitive process, with only an estimated 30% of submissions accepted each year.

    That kind of competition puts means that those looking to get on the peer-reviewed program have to step up their proposal game. After all, the proposal is the one shot you have to “sell” your idea and secure your place in the ILA 2019 Conference program.

    Here are some tips for putting your best proposal forward:

    Educate yourself on what reviewers are looking for. Carefully review the submission guidelines and five-point scoring rubric and be aware of expectations.

    Ground your proposal in research. Reviewers are looking for proof that your proposal is powered by research and evidence-based practice. Include references and citations where needed.

    Show the applicability. Don’t just summarize your research; emphasize its larger significance. What are the implications of your findings? How might this be implemented into practice? What will attendees know by the end of the session?  Clearly state the takeaways.

    Be fresh but relevant. While you want to contribute to what’s trending, you also want to offer fresh perspective and insights. Choose a topic that’s timely, relevant, and important to the field, but still brings a unique angle to the conversation. This will help your proposal stand out.

    Punch up your title. Your title is often the first (and sometimes only) thing attendees will look for when choosing sessions. Give your session a provocative title that piques the reader’s interest while accurately describing the session. For example, “‘That Never Happens at Home!’ Cultivating Collaboration Between Educators and Families of Students With Special Needs” accomplishes both objectives.

    Don’t bury the lead. A well-written session description has two goals: entice the reviewers into accepting your submission and get attendees into the seats. A person should be able to skim the description and feel confident about what will be covered. The fundamental “why” should be clearly articulated.   

    Pitch yourself. Generally speaking, proposals that make reviewers want to attend the session are scored more favorably. Imagine your session is on the schedule, but the presenter is someone else. You’ve decided to go, and you really want your colleagues to join. How would you convince them to go?  

    Set the tone. Delivery matters. Couch your content in a way that conveys your enthusiasm for the topic without compromising formality. Avoid specialized jargon and make sure your prose is clear, straightforward, and engaging.

    Choose your format carefully.  As an educator, you’re accustomed to offering students differentiated learning opportunities. Submissions must be made in one of five session types: preconference institute, hands-on workshop, session, panel, and poster presentation. Take a thoughtful look at the format descriptions and think about how your topic and findings might most effectively be shared with your audience. This also applies to picking a category, strand, and target audience for your session.

    Be concise. A successful proposal will clearly and succinctly answer the basic questions of Who? What? Where? Why? How? Active words are key.

    Proofread, edit, and double-check. Mechanical errors can be distracting and may lead reviewers to question your commitment or competence. The presenter and all copresenters should take time to screen the proposal for spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Afterward, ask colleagues to proofread, not only for errors but also for confusing statements. Give them enough background about the conference, the expected audience, and your topic, so that they can deliver actionable feedback.

    Alina O’Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily.

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    ILA’s First-Ever Children’s Literature Day Brings Message of Hope Full Circle

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Jul 27, 2018
    Marley Dias and Kwame Alexander If we learned anything at the ILA 2018 Conference, it’s that changemaking work is fueled by two feelings: hope and frustration. This year’s theme, Be a Changemaker, was about identifying a problem, and finding the tools, connections, and strategies needed to drive a solution.

    And there’s perhaps no greater harbinger of hope than 14-year-old Marley Dias, the face of the next generation of changemakers. 

    The inaugural Children’s Literature Day opened with a message of hope when Dias took the stage to deliver the opening keynote. Dias reflected on how she turned her frustration about the books she was seeing in school, which offered no mirrors but rather windows that “only opened up to one place and one type of experience”—that of white boys and their dogs—into a movement. She started the #1000BlackGirlBooksProject, a campaign to collect 1,000 books with black girl protagonists that she would then donate to libraries around the country.

    “That singular and exclusive experience frustrated me, and I decided to do something about it,” she said.

    She has since collected more than 12,000 books, appeared on the Ellen Show, interviewed Hillary Clinton, and written her first book, Marley Dias Gets It Done. Dias spoke about the importance of diverse books, inspiring activism in young people, and embracing difference.

    “Reading allows us to see the humanity in others who are not like us,” she said. “Embracing difference is essential if you want to be a changemaker.”

    “Each of us has a magic inside of us that we can use to make the world a better place.”

    The New York Times bestselling-author Kwame Alexander joined her onstage for a Q&A session that was equal parts funny and poignant. The two discussed their new books, their shared love of poetry, and the age-old war between Nigerian and Ghanaian jollof rice.   

    Attendees then dispersed for the morning session of author meetups, panels, and signings. Four categories of meetups (Early Reader, Middle Grade, Early Young Adult, and Older Young Adult) featured a mix of up-and-comers and well-established veterans, including Megan McDonald, Carole Boston Weatherford, and Peter H. Reynolds.

    During a new event, the Latinx panel, moderator Oralia Garza de Cortés, cofounder of the American Library Association's Pura Belpré Award, lead a discussion with four authors whose works celebrate Latinx family culture. They tackled questions of identity and stereotyping, authentic cultural voice, and “the single story.”

    After attendees reconvened at noon for a formal lunch, former ILA Board member Julie Scullen took the stage next to present the ILA Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Awards. Following was a keynote by fifth-grade teacher and Nerdy Book Club founder Colby Sharp, who made the audience laugh and cry as he shared videos from his mock Caldecott unit, which showed students’ celebratory cries and looks of defeat when the actual award winners were announced. 

    He spoke about how to inspire a lifelong love of reading in young people, the value of family and community engagement; and the importance of leading by example.

    “We have a responsibility to make sure a kid never feels like a level, to make sure kids feel like readers, and to make sure kids have all the books,” he said. 

    After an afternoon of more meetups, panels, and signings, Alexander returned to the stage to deliver a dynamic closing keynote. He recited original poetry and shared videos of his first poetry workshop held in a juvenile detention center, an experience that showed him how language can empower and effect change. 

    Alexander brought the message of hope full circle when he shared the fruits of his own changemaker work: the Literacy Empowerment and Action Project, a health clinic and library in the rural village of Konko, Ghana, that facilitates student scholarship opportunities, literacy training for teachers, girls’ empowerment workshops, and career development projects. He closed ILA 2018 on an inspiring note.

    “Read the change. Be the change. Share the change. Make the change.”

    Alina O’Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily.
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    ILA Recognizes Top Children's and Young Adult Titles at Annual Awards Ceremony

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Jul 25, 2018

    CLD Awards CeremonyILA announced the winners of the ILA Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Awards on Monday at the ILA 2018 Conference in Austin, TX.

    The books on this year’s list comprise a wide range of genres and styles, transport readers around the world to places such as Cuba and Iran, and explore edifying themes, including mental illness, family life and tradition, and racial prejudice and police brutality.

    In its 43rd year, the awards program recognizes newly published authors who show exceptional promise in the children’s and young adult book fields. Awards were presented for fiction and nonfiction in each of three categories: primary, intermediate, and young adult.

    "Notable authors like Laurence Yep (winner of the formerly named Laura Ingalls Wilder Award), Christopher Paul Curtis (three-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Award) and Lois Lowry (winner of two Newberry Medals for Number the Stars and The Giver) were recognized with this award early in their illustrious careers,” said teaching and learning specialist and past ILA Board member Julie Scullen, who presented the awards.

    The 2018 award winners are:

    Primary Fiction

    Winner: The Book of Mistakes. Corinna Luyken. 2017. Dial.

    Honor: Little Fox in the Forest. Stephanie Graegin. 2017. Schwartz & Wade.

    Primary Nonfiction

    Winner: This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids From Around the World. Matt Lamothe. 2017. Chronicle.

    Intermediate Fiction

    Winner: Train I Ride. Paul Mosier. 2017. HarperCollins.

    Honor: The Notations of Cooper Cameron. Jane O’Reilly. 2017. Carolrhoda.

    Intermediate Nonfiction

    Winner: Marti’s Song for Freedom. Emma Otheguy. 2017. Lee & Low.

    Young Adult Fiction

    Winner: Words on Bathroom Walls. Julia Walton. 2017. Random House.

    Honor: The Hate U Give. Angie Thomas. 2017. HarperCollins.

    Young Adult Nonfiction

    Winner: Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life With OCD. Allison Britz. 2017. Simon & Schuster.

    “Congratulations to all of our award winners,” said Scullen. “I’m excited to get all of these books into the hands of young readers.”

    Additional information on ILA’s awards can be found here.

    Alina O'Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily.

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