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    Seven Resources You Need to Start Global Read Aloud 2017

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Oct 03, 2017

    Global Read AloudSeven years ago, Wisconsin-based seventh-grade teacher Pernille Ripp had an idea for a global collaboration project that would connect educators and students through read-aloud. An immigrant herself, Ripp believed in the power of books to break down biases and broaden understandings.

     “When I think about global collaboration—it’s because we need to make the world smaller. We need to stop being so afraid of others,” Ripp said. “We need to teach our kids about the outside world or allow them to start experiencing it.”

    Since then, Global Read Aloud (GRA) has gained serious traction—reaching more than 2,000,000 students across 60 countries. For the next six weeks (ending in mid-November) educators from around the world will pick a book to read aloud to students while making as many global connections as possible through social media, video chat, blogging, and other mediums.

    It’s not too late to join—just visit globalreadaloud.com to learn more and sign up, and then browse the list of resources below to get started:

    • This video, which explains how Ripp was inspired to start GRA, how the movement has grown, and how your classroom can participate
    • This archived Google Hangout conversation on the benefits of reading aloud, featuring Ripp, Steven L. Layne, author and professor of literacy education at Judson University in Illinois, and Jennifer Estrada, director of the HerStory Campaign for LitWorld
    • The Global Read Aloud Official Board on Pinterest, where Ripp shares GRA ideas
    • This open Google Sheet, where educators can contribute their own resources (or share ideas they have found online) for participating in GRA
    • The official Twitter hashtag for this year, #GRA17, as well as the following, book-specific individual hashtags:

    Alina O'Donnell is the editor of Literacy Daily.

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    Celebrating Literacy Leadership: Peggy Semingson

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Sep 28, 2017

    Peggy SemingsonSemingson is the recipient of the Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award, which recognizes a long-standing commitment to engaging, student-centered teaching and support. To learn about 2018 award and grant opportunities, visit our Awards & Grants page.

    When it comes to online literacy education, Peggy Semingson has always been ahead of the trends. She started her blog, Literacy Update, in 2004, before the channel had reached the mainstream. Today, she continues to shares her literacy expertise on her podcast and YouTube channel, which recently hit one million minutes of viewings.

    Semingson’s success in her online channels is proof of the power of self-directed learning tools, one of her research interests.  

    “I asked myself, how do we empower students to do their own learning, their own self-directed learning?” she says.

    Semingson first became interested in literacy studies while pursuing her doctorate in curriculum and instruction at the University of Texas at Austin. A lifelong reader and former philosophy major, she has an innate curiosity about the reading process, and spent most of her time as a student reading and writing about reading and writing.

    Currently, Semingson’s research focuses on frameworks that support online literacy teacher education. She is especially interested in socially distributed knowledge in online spaces, distributed cognition, and video-mediated discussion and dialogue. Currently, she’s looking at how teachers can nurture online communities and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, which she says is more effective than passive learning.

    “The teacher has to build that infrastructure for communicating and fostering a social presence,” she says.

    Semingson believes the future of literacy teacher education will be more student centered. She celebrates open educational resources such as author blogs and media, videos and podcasts, free online journal articles, multimodal literacies, microlearning, and webinars that are making education accessible to a wider audience.

    “The whole nature of what it means to be a teacher is rapidly changing. Students have information at their fingertips and we need to help them facilitate their own learning,” she says.

    Alina O’Donnell is the editor of ILA’s blog, Literacy Daily.

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    How Teach Us All Hopes to Inspire a Student-Led Integration Movement

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Sep 25, 2017

    Teach Us AllOn September 25, 1957, armed federal troops escorted nine African-American students past angry, white crowds and through the doors of Little Rock Central High School—a moment that continues to embody our nation’s struggle for true equity in education.  

    Timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock school crisis, today marks the debut of the Netflix documentary Teach Us All. Directed by Sonia Lowman, the film examines the current realities of public school segregation and launches an impact campaign that will leverage community-based screenings, discussion forums, educational outreach, and more to advocate for meaningful policy changes.

    We had the privilege of hosting an early screening of the documentary at the ILA 2017 Conference & Exhibits in July, and it opened the doors to an honest, difficult, rule-breaking conversation about the stubborn persistence of structural racism and implicit bias in today’s education system.

    As educators, this historic anniversary is an opportunity to engage students in a meaningful conversation about the event’s impact on the civil rights movement, the resegregation of today’s schools, and the power of young students to effect social change. The following resources weave history, context, and personal narrative to provoke a powerful response in the classroom:

    Teach Us All will also publish Student Movements for School Equity and Integration,” a year-long elective course that equips high school students with the historical background, communication skills, collaborative work habits, and other problem-solving tools they need to be “conscious, compassionate, effective” agents of change in their communities.

    Watch the documentary on Netflix now or find a screening near you.

    Alina O’Donnell is the editor of Literacy Daily.

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    30 Under 30: As Told by Former Honorees

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Sep 15, 2017

    30 Under 30 HonoreesThrough our 30 Under 30 list, ILA recognizes young innovators, disruptors, and visionaries who are leading efforts to overcome the challenges of today’s education field and to advance our vision of a literate world for all. Beyond visibility, 30 Under 30 honorees gain confidence, professional development opportunities, and new and expanded networks. Here’s what some of our former honorees have to say about the experience, in their own words:

    “The ILA 30 Under 30 award is more than a global tag/title or recognition. It has provided me a platform upon which a lot of contemporary programs and reforms can be replicated to Liberia. As ILA members, we now have a pool of resources to ensure our programs are meeting the evolving literacy needs of the people we serve. Our participation as the only exhibitor from Africa at the ILA 2016 Conference & Exhibits in Boston, MA, provided us with important contacts that we continue to leverage as we seek to expand our scale and impact in Liberia.” 

    Benjamin Freeman, 2015 30 Under 30 honoree and executive director of the Liberia Institute for the Promotion of Academic Excellence (LIPACE)

    “For the first time, I attended and presented at the ILA 2017 Conference & Exhibits in Orlando, FL, where I had the opportunity to meet some of my 30 Under 30 colleagues and other ILA leaders. Being able to meet the people behind so many of ILA’s impactful initiatives was empowering. Another life-changing moment occurred for me when Katie Wood Ray reached out to me about visiting my school! She had read the 30 Under 30 article, and she wanted to see our work with English learners and family engagement in action. As a literacy coach, sharing an opportunity with my staff to talk with one of the giants in elementary literacy was a truly incredible experience.

    Being a 30 Under 30 honoree reminded me that age does not define our contributions to community and society. We all have something to share and learn from each other—no matter our ages, our geographic locations, or the nature of our careers in education. We all have something to contribute. We can all be literacy leaders, if we take the time to listen and to act.”

    Melissa Wells, 2016 30 Under 30 honoree and assistant professor for the College of Education at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia

    “After receiving the award, I was asked to be one of the keynote speakers at the Closing General Session [at the ILA 2017 Conference & Exhibits] and spent the subsequent months in a constant state of panic as I prepared to speak in front of a room of highly respected literacy advocates. The entire ILA team was extremely supportive and encouraging to me on the days that led to my speaking. They were so encouraging, in fact, that I felt confident enough to overcome my fear of public speaking. After I finished my session and returned backstage I was met with hugs and cheers.

    There’s a sense of family at the conference. Imagine a convention center full of individuals who share your same heart for empowering students through literacy. The feeling is indescribable and truly inspiring. I was able to connect with other 30 Under 30 honorees and hear their literacy success stories. It’s calming to know that the world is filled with other teachers whose life passion is the same as mine: literacy for all. I am still in contact with my fellow honorees and love seeing what they’re doing in their classrooms. I left conference feeling empowered and truly inspired to continue my work.”

    Katie Lett, 2016 30 Under 30 honoree and elementary teacher of English learners at Kentwood Public Schools in Michigan

    If you know someone who is under the age of 30 (as of March 1, 2019) and who has shown extraordinary dedication to ILA’s mission, we invite you to complete a short nomination form here. All nominations must be received by 11:59 p.m. ET on June 1, 2018.

    Alina O’Donnell is the editor of Literacy Daily.

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    Resources for Talking and Teaching About School Violence

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Sep 14, 2017

    Freeman Reflections When traumatic events happen in schools, such as the shooting that took place yesterday at Freeman High School in Rockford, WA, it can be difficult for educators to know how to start a dialogue with students. The resources below prepare educators to provide the support and guidance students need to process the event and confront their questions and feelings.

    • "The Best Resources On Talking With Children About Tragedies”: Education blogger Larry Ferlazzo’s collection of recommended resources on talking with children about tragedies.
    • 15 Tips for Talking with Children About School Violence: Multilingual tips and resources to help parents and educators talk about school violence, discuss events in the news, and help children feel safe in their environment. 
    • Helping Kids During Crisis: Assembled by the American School Counselor Association, the webinars, websites, and publications on this exhaustive list aid in emotional recovery after a crisis.
    • How to Talk to Children About Shootings: The Today Show’s age-by-age guides help educators and parents in addressing tragedies with children.
    • "Resources: Talking and Teaching About the Shooting in Newtown, Conn.": Published by The New York Times, this article, written in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, outlines classroom activities to help educators empower students to discuss the event, write about their reactions, and take action.
    • Responding to Tragedy: Resources for Educators and Parents: Edutopia offers a compilation of useful, informative, and thoughtful resources for helping children through traumatic situations.
    • School Crisis Guide: Created by the National Education Association, this step-by-step guide makes it easier for education professionals to implement effective leadership, crisis management, and long-term mental health support—before, during, and after a crisis.
    • School Violence Prevention: Tips for Parents & Educators: Produced by the National Association of School Psychologists, this toolkit offers advice on how to restore students’ comfort and empower them to play a role in their own safety.
    • Taking Aim at Violence in Schools”: Originally published by The New York Times in 1999 after the school shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, these lesson plans encourage students to share, through discussion and writing, their feelings about violence in schools, as well as about ways in which such events could be prevented.

    Alina O’Donnell is the editor of Literacy Daily.

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