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    ILA Announces 2019 Board Election Results

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | May 14, 2019

    The International Literacy Association is pleased to announce the newly elected members of the ILA Board of Directors.

    stephen-peters-2-vp-thStephen Peters, Superintendent, Laurens County School District 55, Laurens, South Carolina, will serve as vice president for 2019-2020 and assume the role of president on July 1, 2020.


    Three new Board members-at-large for 2019–2022 were also elected:

    Photo_Kia Brown-DudleyKia Brown-Dudley, Director of Literacy and Development, The Education Partners, New York

    Photo_Rachael GabrielRachael Gabriel
    , Associate Professor of Literacy Education, University of Connecticut, Storrs



    Photo_Laurie SharpLaurie Sharp
    Endowed Professor/Dr. John G. O'Brien Distinguished Chair in Education, West Texas A&M University, Canyon


    Please join us in congratulating them.

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

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    ILA's 2019 Choices Reading Lists Highlight "Own Voices" Texts

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | May 02, 2019

    choices-2019ILA released yesterday the 2019 Choices Reading Lists, an annual best-of selection of children’s and young adults’ books, handpicked by students and educators themselves.

    Each year, Choices empowers 25,000 children and young adults across the United States to enjoy newly published children’s and young adults’ trade books and vote for the ones they like best and that had an impact on them as readers. Teachers, in turn, identify high-quality books that enrich the curriculum and, most important, excite and interest students.

    This year’s lists exemplify the project’s continued commitment to diversity and representation in children’s literature. Books such as Finding Langston, Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice, and Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag offer powerful launch points for discussion around the social justice issues of racial bias, police violence, and the LGBTQ rights movement.

    The 2019 lists also include “own voices” texts—those in which the author shares the marginalized identity of a book’s protagonist. Authors such as Lesa Cline-Ransome, Duncan Tonatiuh, and Aisha Saeed challenge dominant media narratives and provide more authentic perspectives.

    Educators can use the Choices lists to conscientiously expand their libraries, supporting children’s rights to choose what they read and to access window, mirror and sliding glass door texts.  

    “No one better understands the tastes and preferences of children than students themselves and the teachers who observe their responses firsthand,” says ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post.

    “These lists help educators connect students with books they can’t put down, books in which they can see themselves represented, and books that instill in them a lifelong hunger for reading and learning.”

    The Choices projects are run by ILA members who volunteer as team leaders to recruit participants, distribute books, and oversee the reviewing and voting process. The number of book submissions continues to grow annually across the three Choices projects.

    Download the annotated 2019 Choices reading lists and find more information on these projects at literacyworldwide.org/choices.

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

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    Leading ILA Journal Launches Podcast

    By Bailee Formon
     | Apr 10, 2019

    rrq-podcastAlthough there are numerous resources available to help educators find new tools and strategies to use in their classrooms, translating these resources into practice is not always easy. For this reason, the editors of ILA’s Reading Research Quarterly (RRQ), Amanda Goodwin, an assistant professor in language, literacy, and culture at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, and Robert T. Jiménez, professor in ELL and literacy education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, recently created two platforms to make new information more accessible to educators.

    A new podcast, Bridge Research to Practice: Live With the Author, and Facebook group support ILA’s mission to deepen understandings in ways that impact research and practice.

    Bridging research to practice

    Launched in January, Bridge Research to Practice: Live With the Author features in-depth interviews with authors of key RRQ pieces. Literacy thought leaders dive deep into their background, how they became interested in their article topic, and their RRQ study. The interviews culminate with important takeaways as well as tangible steps that educators can take to make positive changes in their own classrooms.

    Goodwin says they chose podcasts as the medium because episodes can be accessed anytime, anywhere—making them a convenient option for a time-strapped audience. As fellow educators, Goodwin and Jiménez understand that the standard school schedule allows little time for teachers to engage in professional learning. Podcasts—which can be played via smart phone, computer, or smart speakers such as Alexa—allow listeners to get personalized professional development while driving or cooking dinner.

    The editors choose recent RRQ articles that present meaningful, relevant information so educators who follow the discussions can not only use the information presented by the researcher but also initiate conversations on the basis of on their own understanding. So far, they have interviewed authors on topics such as the impact of vocabulary intervention, second-language reading difficulties, and evaluating the credibility of online science information.

    Goodwin says she hopes the podcast will be an effective tool to reach new audiences and “convey research findings in a real way to help make an impact in classrooms, homes, and schools.” 

    “[We are] making the effort to bridge research to practice,” she says.

    Authors of our own experiences

    Another way to encourage discussion around these research findings is through the group’s new Facebook page, open to RRQ subscribers and nonsubscribers, where the editors highlight excerpts and takeaways from recent articles to help educators better digest the information and apply it to different contexts. The editors also post outside articles, questions, and discussion starters so members of the community can deepen their knowledge as well as share new information with peers.

    Goodwin describes the RRQ Facebook page as a platform for collaborative learning and conversation. Using hashtags such as #MeetTheResearchMonday, #TalkAboutItTuesday#WhatDoYouThinkWednesday, #TheoryToPracticeThursday, #FindOutMoreFriday, the editors facilitate dialogue around important topics and encourage members to build connections, exchange ideas, and share their own experiences.

    Goodwin says the space “let’s all of us be authors of our own experiences.”

    A growing community

    Although these new platforms have created opportunities for learning and discussion among teachers and educators, there is still room for growth. The next step is for RRQ readers and podcast listeners to bring these conversations to their schools, districts, and communities.

    Spreading the word about these resources can help to further grow this community and extend the reach of research. This network is for the benefit of students everywhere because, according to Goodwin, “What’s the point if you don’t change the lives of children?”

    Bailee Formon is an intern at the International Literacy Association.  

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    ILA 2019 Board Election Opens

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Mar 27, 2019

    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 2019 Board Election will be conducted entirely online. Individual ILA members with an active membership and a valid e-mail address will receive email reminders with a link to the online ballot. Eligible ILA members who do not have valid email addresses will receive instructions by mail for how they can vote online.

    If you haven’t received your email ballot, please confirm your membership is in good standing and that the email address connected to your membership is accurate by signing into your membership account or by phoning ILA’s Constituent Services Team at 800.336.7323 (U.S. and Canada) or 302.731.1600 (all other countries). 

    For assistance signing into your ILA membership account, please contact Andrew Arbitell, account manager for Intelliscan, aarbitell@intelliscaninc.com.

    The newly elected Board members will begin their terms on July 1, 2019.

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

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    Implementing Children's Rights to Read

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Mar 04, 2019
    In September, ILA launched a global movement aimed at ensuring every child has access to the education, opportunities, and resources needed to read. ILA’s Children’s Rights to Read—ten fundamental rights ILA asserts that every child deserves—frames reading as an issue of equity and social justice. 

    Since then, more than 1,000 individuals and organizations, representing over 50 countries; 30 organizations; 20 schools, districts, and universities; and 175,000 students, have pledged support to the initiative, which focuses on activating educators, policymakers and literacy partners to join ILA in their efforts to raise awareness of these Rights and see them realized for every child, everywhere.

    In this blog series, teachers and literacy professionals share how they are implementing the Rights in their daily practice.

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

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