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    International Literacy Association Declares High-Quality Literacy Instruction a Human Right

    By ILA Staff
     | Sep 09, 2019

    CREL_680wThe International Literacy Association (ILA) released a new position statement today declaring that access to excellent literacy instruction is the right of every child, everywhere.

    The new statement, Children’s Rights to Excellent Literacy Instruction, is released in honor of International Literacy Day (ILD), which UNESCO founded in 1966 to highlight the importance of literacy in creating prosperous societies. The statement marks the next phase in ILA’s Children’s Rights to Read initiative, which launched one year ago, also on ILD.

    “We know that literacy is the foundation of all learning, and yet much work remains to ensure it is given the attention it deserves,” says Marcie Craig Post, ILA executive director. “This next phase of our Children’s Rights campaign draws the connection between literacy and equitable, high-quality instruction—we cannot have one without the other.”

    The new position statement was crafted by a global team of educators, researchers, and advocates. The statement focuses on four tenets: the right to knowledgeable and qualified literacy educators, the right to integrated support systems, the right to supportive learning environments and high-quality resources, and the right to policies that ensure equitable literacy instruction.

    In addition to the statement, ILA will release four new research briefs, with each expanding upon the critical tenets. The first, which focuses on the preparation and professional development of literacy educators, publishes later this month.

    “We know that the most critical component of equitable instruction is the teacher,” says Diane Kern, one of the statement’s principal authors. “For high-quality, excellent literacy instruction to become a reality, we need to ensure our educators are getting the preparation both they and their future students deserve.

    “Once they are in the field, that support must continue through both ongoing, high-quality professional development and collaboration among other knowledgeable, highly qualified literacy partners including administrative leaders, reading/literacy specialists, literacy coaches, and literacy coordinators,” continues Kern, who also served as cochair of ILA’s Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 Revision Committee.

    ILA’s Children’s Rights to Read campaign has already garnered the support of thousands of individuals from more than a dozen countries. Sign the pledge in support of both the original 10 rights and the newly released Children’s Rights to Excellent Literacy Instruction.

    Download the Children’s Rights to Excellent Literacy Instruction position statement here.

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    ILA Announces 2019 Children's and Young Adults' Book Awards Winners

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Aug 28, 2019

    The International Literacy Association (ILA) today announced the winners of the ILA Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Awards, which recognize newly published authors who show exceptional promise in the children’s and young adult book fields.

    These titles, ranging from children’s books about a young girl who learns the origins of her very long and meaningful name and a gender-questioning child who finds acceptance from his grandmother to a YA novel about a high school girl navigating school politics and life in the wake of her brother's death, delve into issues of love, loss, family, identity, gender, race and politics.

    “In today’s vibrant world, teachers must design their classroom libraries consciously to show they value all students’ lives and identities,” said ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “We’re excited to shine a spotlight on these titles, which draw readers into the worlds of characters who may be different from themselves and that celebrate empathy, kindness and acceptance.”

    Awards were presented for fiction and nonfiction in each of three categories: primary, intermediate and young adult.

    The 2019 award winners are:

    Primary Fiction

    Winner: Julián Is a Mermaid. Jessica Love. 2018. Candlewick Press.

    Honor: Alma and How She Got Her Name. Juana Martinez-Neal. 2018. Candlewick Press.

    Primary Nonfiction

    Winner: Let the Children March. Monica Clark-Robinson. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

    Honor: Prickly Hedgehogs! Jane McGuinness. 2018. Candlewick Press.

    Intermediate Fiction

    Winner: Hope in the Holler. Lisa Lewis Tyre. 2018. Nancy Paulsen Books.

    Intermediate Nonfiction

    Winner: Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle. Erica Fyvie. 2018. Kids Can Press.

    Young Adult Fiction

    Winner: Dear Rachel Maddow: A Novel. Adrienne Kisner. 2018. Feiwel & Friends.
    Honor: The Beauty That Remains. Ashley Woodfolk. 2018. Delacorte Press.

    Young Adult Nonfiction

    Winner: I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope. Chessy Prout with Jenn Abelson. 2018. Margaret K. McElderry Books.

    Additional information on the ILA Children's and Young Adults' Book Awards can be found here.

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

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    ILA Announces Winners of William S. Gray Citation of Merit, Other Awards

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Aug 28, 2019

    The International Literacy Association (ILA) today presented the William S. Gray Citation of Merit to D. Ray Reutzel, Dean of the College of Education at the University of Wyoming. ILA's most prestigious award, the William S. Gray Citation of Merit honors a nationally or internationally known individual for his or her outstanding contributions to the field of reading/literacy.

    An ILA member since 1982, Reutzel is a former member of the Board of Directors of the International Reading Association (now the International Literacy Association) 2007–2010, past president (2017–2019) of the Reading Hall of Fame, former coeditor of The Reading Teacher and a current member of ILA’s Literacy Research Panel.

    “Reutzel has been a consistent and influential voice for teacher preparation reform, evidence-based reading instruction and educational equity. His work has been vital in protecting the rights of all children to learn—and love—to read and write proficiently,” said ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “We’re thrilled to recognize his important contributions to ILA and to the literacy community at large.”

    Before joining the University of Wyoming, Reutzel was the Emma Eccles Jones Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair of Early Literacy Education at Utah State University for 14 years. He has authored more than 230 research reports published in leading psychology and education research and professional journals, articles, books, book chapters and monographs as well as the best-selling textbook, Teaching Children to Read: The Teacher Makes the Difference (Pearson Education). To date, he has received more than $17 million in research and program development grant funding.

    In addition, the Timothy & Cynthia Shanahan Outstanding Dissertation Award, given annually for a dissertation completed in reading or literacy, was presented to Courtney Hattan, assistant professor of Elementary Literacy at Illinois State University. Her dissertation for the University of Maryland, College Park, Prompting Rural Students’ Use of Background Knowledge and Experience to Support Comprehension of Unfamiliar Content, investigated the effectiveness of traditional (mobilization) and novel (relational reasoning) techniques for activating students’ background knowledge.

    Other award highlights include:

    • The Corwin Literacy Leader Award, presented by ILA to Stacia Lewis, director of Elementary Education for Sevier County, Tennessee
    • The Erwin Zolt Digital Literacy Game Changer Award, presented to Margaret Hawkins, professor at the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
    • The Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award, presented to Amy McClure, Rodefer Professor of Education, chair of the Education Department and director of the University Honors Program at Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio
    • The Leaders Inspiring Readers Award, sponsored by Achieve 3000, presented to Jan Wasowicz, founder, president and chief learning officer of Learning by Design, Evanston, Illinois
    • The Maryann Manning Special Service Award, presented to Tilka Jamnik, head and national coordinator of activities at the Centre for Youth Literature and Librarianship, Slovenia
    • The Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Grant, awarded to Kelly Palomeque, teacher at Riverside Elementary School, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

    The full list of awards/grants and recipients can be found here.

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

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    ILA Launches National Recognition Initiative

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Jul 19, 2019
    The International Literacy Association (ILA) announced today the launch of the ILA National Recognition for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals, an initiative that recognizes outstanding licensure, certificate, and endorsement programs that prepare reading/literacy specialists in the United States—the only one of its kind. 

    ILA National Recognition evaluates education preparation providers (EPPs) who seek the organization’s stamp of approval and award the designation on the basis of adherence to ILA’s Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017). Standards 2017 addresses the demands of 21st-century literacy instruction through rigorous field work, digital learning, and equity-building practices. 

    Programs scored highly during the ILA National Recognition process may be referred to the second phase of the process, putting them on the path to earning ILA National Recognition with Distinction—the highest honor ILA awards literacy professional preparatory programs.

    Two EPPs, The University of Texas San Antonio and West Virginia University, helped pilot the program and have been awarded ILA National Recognition with Distinction. 

    "This initiative underscores ILA’s commitment to preparing high-caliber literacy professionals,” said ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “Programs that have earned National Recognition or National Recognition with Distinction are equipping the next generation of literacy professionals with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need to meet the challenges of today's classrooms.”

    Currently, ILA National Recognition and ILA National Recognition with Distinction focus on programs that prepare reading/literacy specialists. Expansion to other literacy professional roles is planned, with a target release of summer 2020.  

    For more information, visit
    Alina O'Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily.
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    ILA Discontinues Membership in CAEP

    By Lara Deloza
     | Jul 18, 2019
    ila-logoEffective August 1, the International Literacy Association (ILA) will discontinue its membership in the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), an accreditation body of education preparation providers (EPPs) that offer licensure, certificate, and endorsement programs in the United States and/or internationally.

    The relationship between the organizations spans nearly 40 years and two name changes. ILA first became a constituent member of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in 1980, as the International Reading Association (IRA); NCATE merged with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) to become CAEP in 2013.

    Members of ILA's CAEP Committee acted as advisors on the partnership and, along with other ILA literacy professionals, served as program reviewers to strengthen reading/literacy specialist education programs across the United States. EPPs were evaluated based on their alignment with ILA’s Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 and, prior to that, IRA’s Standards 2010. 

    ILA remains committed to strengthening pre-K–12 student learning and will continue to recognize exemplary literacy professional preparation programs through its own independent initiative. 

    For questions, please contact

    Lara Deloza
    is the Director of Brand Content and Communications at the International Literacy Association. 
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