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Become a Leader for Literacy

by April Hall
 | Apr 01, 2015

The International Literacy Association has declared April 14, 2015 Leaders for Literacy Day. On that day, ILA will host critical physical and digital conversations with international literacy advocates and practitioners.

A panel of thought leaders and status quo interrupters will face head-on the topics that will shape the future of literacy across the world. How can educators, governments, and private sector and philanthropic leaders collaborate to develop, assess and share approaches that work in advancing literacy?

“We hope to talk about the state of literacy and policy implications for the future,” said Susan B. Neuman, professor and chair of the Teaching and Learning Department at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University. Neuman, former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, will be one of the panelists at the marquis portion of the program hosted by the Institute of International Education in United Nations Plaza.

Neuman, author of Giving Children a Fighting Chance, said she will talk about the importance of introducing literacy and reading at a young age to “set the stage for the development of information capital.”

This panel will launch a movement to address the crisis that nearly 800 million adults around the world are illiterate. Including illiterate children, it adds up to 12% of the world’s population. Leaders for Literacy Day will be the first step in mobilizing stakeholders who will be the future of literacy and building a successful society.

The panel will also include Allan Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education; Steven Duggan, director of worldwide education strategy for Microsoft Corporation; Bernadette Dwyer, a lecturer in Literacy Studies at St. Patrick's College, Dublin City University; David L. Kirp, professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley; and ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. The panel will be moderated by Liz Willen, editor-in-chief of The Hechinger Report. The ILA communications team will live-tweet the panel.

Through the hashtag #AgeofLiteracy, advocates have already shared on social media what they will do to further literacy around the world. On April 14, that hashtag will be used for one-hour intervals of discussion focused on the most important topics facing the literacy community. All discussions will be nonconventional Twitter chats where conversations will develop organically outside of a standard Q&A format.

The conversation on the pre-event Twitter will include:

Bloggers are also invited to take part by writing about the age of literacy for their audiences. ILA will then share those posts via social media.

Some suggested topics:

  • How is literacy critical to the advancement of society today?
  • What is needed to advance literacy rates around the world?
  • How can governments, businesses, NGOs, and community leaders work together to advance literacy?

Log on to Twitter April 14 at noon and follow #AgeofLiteracy to see what literacy advocates are saying and join the conversation.

April Hall is editor of Literacy Daily. A journalist for about 20 years, she has specialized in education, writing and editing for newspapers, websites, and magazines.


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