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    Board Nominations Due December 20

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Nov 21, 2018

    Are you a passionate individual wanting to use your skills to advance literacy? Know someone who is? ILA members are invited to recommend a colleague or nominate themselves for consideration to serve on the ILA Board of Directors.

    The Nominating Committee seeks committed and capable candidates from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, experiences, professions, perspectives, and areas of expertise. Vital to the organization’s long-term success and financial health, nominees should be individuals who are dedicated to achieving ILA objectives, which include actively promoting ILA’s mission; ensuring effective organization planning; participating in all Board activities; and maintaining adequate resources.

    Nominees with nonprofit experience, financial background, and literacy expertise will help round out the skill set that current members bring to the Board. Ideal candidates will have experience in leadership, strategic planning, and recruitment.

    Board members are asked to serve a three-year term (2019–2022) and should plan to spend at least 50 hours a year on ILA activities, excluding travel. Meetings are conducted face to face and virtually. Each Board member is expected to serve on one or more committees or task forces.

    Learn more about serving on ILA's Board of Directors, as well as how to nominate yourself or a colleague for one of the open positions, by downloading this guide. You can submit a nomination for yourself or a colleague until December 20.

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

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    ILA Presents Updated Literacy Professional Preparation Standards to State ELA Consultants

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Oct 19, 2018
    SCASS Presentation

    Representatives of ILA addressed education agency consultants Wednesday at the State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS) Fall Meeting in Boston about improving and increasing the effectiveness of state literacy programs.

    Rita M. Bean, University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and Diane E. Kern, University of Rhode Island, were invited by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to brief Collaborative members from across the country about ILA’s Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017). Their message? The standards, although written for educator preparation programs, can—and should—be used to navigate decisions about curriculum and instruction.

    Kern, who along with Bean served as co-chair of the committee charged with updating ILA’s standards, says the presentation offered a platform for this broader application. They also shared how ILA can support states in the ongoing development and assessment of existing literacy programs.

    As Kern and Bean shared with attendees, Standards 2017 provides “a framework for thinking about their own initiatives and challenges, including the development of their state comprehensive literacy plans.”

    The presentation included an activity during which attendees divided into seven groups to analyze the content of and research behind a standard. The groups then shared their findings across the English Language Arts collaborative, a subgroup of the SCASS.

    Participants demonstrated interest in how ILA’s standards could inform schools’ disciplinary literacy and digital literacy practices and their professional learning initiatives.

    “We asked them to think about how [the standards] could offer solutions to their challenges,” says Bean. “[Attendees] were saying the standards would be a powerful and valuable tool for evaluating where they are and where they’re going.”

    Learn more about ILA’s Standards 2017 here.

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

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    #ILAchat: Ensuring Every Child’s Rights to Read

    Wesley Ford
     | Sep 11, 2018

    ILAchat_RightsToRead_300This Thursday, September 13, at 8:00 p.m. ET, #ILAchat and #globaledchat will join together for a single conversation focusing on the newly released Children’s Rights to Read, looking specifically at the role of educators in enacting and upholding these rights for students.

    As ILA President of the Board Bernadette Dwyer notes in the introduction of The Case for Children’s Rights to Read, “As literacy educators, we are responsible for delivering on the promise inherent in these rights. Whether we are working in the classroom or preparing the next generation of teachers, we have a responsibility for every student entrusted to our care. We must enact these rights in classrooms and schools and work with others to ensure the same in homes, communities, governments, and societies.”

    Alas, Dwyer could not be with us for this chat. Taking up the mantle in her stead, we have a few members of ILA’s Board of Directors—Juli-Anne Benjamin, Kenneth Kunz, Stephen Peters, and Jennifer Williams—and Heather Singmaster, representing #globaledchat, who are graciously letting us use their Twitter chat platform to expand the reach of this conversation.

    Benjamin is a veteran educator who has dedicated her life in the service of children, both nationally and internationally, having taught in South Africa and recently in New Delhi, India, at Delhi Public Schools. Benjamin loves to read and is devoutly committed to building culturally relevant and sustainable classroom libraries. She champions read-alouds in literacy lessons and grounds instructional practice in building and curating sound relationships with teachers and students and culturally aligning books that serve as windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors into the diverse experiences and worlds of children.

    Kunz began his career as an elementary school teacher in the New Jersey Public Schools after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and English from Kean University. In 2007, he received recognition as an outstanding teacher through the New Jersey Governor’s Teacher Recognition Program. Passionate about literacy instruction, he holds a master’s degree in Reading Specialization and a doctorate in Teacher Leadership from Rutgers University.

    childrens-rights-to-read-posterPeters has been a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, and director of secondary education. Most of his experiences have been in schools that made significant growth in short periods of time, thus resulting in both National and State Blue Ribbon distinction. Currently, Peters is superintendent of schools for Laurens 55 School District and is founder of the nationally recognized Gentlemen’s & Ladies Club programs, which provide options for thousands of at-risk and honor students throughout the United States.

    Williams is recognized as a transformational leader in education; she has dedicated herself for over 20 years to the field of education through her roles as a school administrator, literacy specialist, and classroom teacher. Her personal mission is to make literacy accessible for all and ultimately to bring about appreciation of shared stories and celebration of diversity of experience and perspective.

    Singmaster is associate director at the Center for Global Education at the Asia Society, where her work focuses on international benchmarking and integrating global competence into Career Technical Education (CTE) programs as well as state and national policy. She leads the project, Mapping the Nation: The Case for Global Competence and is host of Education Week’s Global Learning blog. Currently, she is working on a set of online professional development modules and resources to support the CTE field.

    We’re excited to hear from both the #ILAchat and #globaledchat communities jointly on Thursday, September 13, at 8:00 p.m. ET about these Rights, which resonated the most with you personally, how you plan to implement them in your classrooms and schools, and what support you think educators will need to ensure these Rights to Read for every student.

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    ILA Launches Children’s Rights to Read Campaign

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Sep 07, 2018

    Rights to ReadFifty-two years ago, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially declared September 8 International Literacy Day, with the goal of highlighting literacy as a human rights issue.

    But despite some gains made since then, a staggering 750 million people around the world today, two-thirds of them women, do not have a grasp of basic literacy skills.

    “Reading enables the individual to function in society,” says Bernadette Dwyer, president of the Board of Directors of ILA. “More important, reading enriches the personal, social, cultural, and aesthetic dimensions of the individual.”

    That’s one reason why, in 2018, the ILA Board of Directors convened a task force charged with developing the Children’s Rights to Read project. This task force incriluded literacy educators, researchers, and advocates from Australia, Ireland, Japan, Russia, and the United States.

    Together, they crafted a list of 10 Rights, of equal importance, that every child deserves. Among them: the right to read for pleasure; to access texts in print and digital formats; and to collaborate with others locally and globally.

    Children’s Rights to Read approaches literacy from a perspective of equity and social justice. It demands that every child have access to the education, opportunities, and resources needed to read. In short, it outlines a roadmap for empowering every child to reach his or her full potential.

    “We must continue to work toward the goal of an equitable education for all,” says Dwyer. “Issues of equity, equality of opportunity, quality of instruction, and social justice should permeate all that we do to ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn to read.”

    Children’s Rights to Read kicks off a global, yearlong campaign aimed at protecting these 10 fundamental Rights. Using social media as a launch pad, the campaign will galvanize educators, policymakers, and literacy partners to align for a common purpose.

    As part of the ongoing campaign, ILA will be developing and distributing practical resources that educators can use to enact these Rights in their classrooms, schools, and communities. The first, The Case for Children’s Rights to Read, is available now.  

    Using our combined voice and the strategic tools at our disposal, we can bring awareness to this cause, influence public policy, and create needed change.

    Visit literacyworldwide.org/rightstoread to download the Children’s Rights to Read and sign on in support. To join the conversation, use the #RightsToRead hashtag.

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

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    Nell K. Duke Receives ILA’s William S. Gray Citation of Merit

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Sep 04, 2018
    Nell K. Duke
    Nell K. Duke, professor in literacy, language, and culture and in the combined program in education and psychology at the University of Michigan, School of Education, is the recipient of the William S. Gray Citation of Merit, recognizing ILA members who have made outstanding contributions to multiple facets of literacy development—research, theory, practice, and policy.

    For some, the road to literacy work is a long, winding path. For others, like Nell K. Duke, it’s a calling. Duke’s love of learning and passion for teaching was awakened at an early age by equally dedicated teachers.

    “I have been interested in language and literacy development since elementary school, actually, and I have read in this area ever since then,” she says. “As an undergraduate, my favorite topic in the teacher certification program was literacy development, and my undergraduate thesis focused on children’s writing.”

    Now a professor in literacy, language, and culture and in the combined program in education and psychology at the University of Michigan, School of Education, Duke brings her deep commitment to social justice to her day-to-day work. Her research focuses on early literacy development, particularly among children of poverty, the development of informational reading and writing in young children, comprehension development, and issues of equity and access in literacy education.

    In addition to her research, Duke teaches preservice, inservice, and doctoral courses in literacy education; speaks and consults widely on literacy education; and has served as coprincipal investigator on projects funded by Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and Lucas Education Research, among other organizations.

    She is also the author and coauthor of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and books, including Inside Information: Developing Powerful Readers and Writers of Informational Text Through Project-Based Instruction (Scholastic) and Beyond Bedtime Stories: A Parent’s Guide to Promoting Reading, Writing, and Other Literacy Skills From Birth to 5 (Scholastic). She’s currently in the beginning phases of writing a book on developing literacy from birth to age 8.

    Of all her accomplishments, Duke says she’s most proud of an article she published in 2000, titled, “For the Rich It’s Richer: Print Experiences and Environments Offered to Children in Very Low- and Very High-Socioeconomic Status First-Grade Classrooms,” which has laid the foundation for her career in advancing equity in literacy education.

    “So often, people attribute educational inequity to homes and communities, but this article documents very specific ways in which schools perpetuate inequity from very early in schooling, even if unintentionally,” she says. “The article provides something of a roadmap of inequities in early literacy education on which I have worked over the course of my career.”

    When asked about her future goals, Duke says she hopes to continue to learn from and support practitioners and policymakers who have a positive impact on the literacy development of young children, particularly those living in poverty.

    “Some more specific goals include reducing the use of practices that are not effective in developing literacy, increasing the use of practices that are effective in developing literacy, developing new curriculum materials, and fostering the field’s understanding of pedagogy that provides civic as well as literacy education,” she says.

    Duke thanks ILA for creating an award that bridges theory and practice.
    “Especially meaningful to me is that the award considers practice and policy as well as research and theory,” she says. “It has always been my goal to have some impact beyond research and theory.”

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