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ILA Announces 2019 Conference Speakers

By Alina O'Donnell
 | Feb 20, 2019

ila2019-registrationChelsea Clinton tops the list of notable speakers at the International Literacy Association (ILA) 2019 Conference, to be held in New Orleans, LA, October 10–13, 2019. Clinton, a longtime champion of early learning, will take the main stage on Friday, October 11 to discuss the connection between literacy and advocacy, as well as her newest book, Don’t Let Them Disappear.  

Scheduled for publication on April 2, 2019, Don’t Let Them Disappear will introduce young readers to a selection of endangered animals and offer tips on how to help save them from extinction. Following her address, Clinton will participate in an interactive Q&A moderated by 2018 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year Kimberly Eckert.

For the 2019 conference, ILA, a global advocacy and membership organization advocating for evidence-based literacy instruction and equitable educational policies, will focus on creating a thriving culture of literacy in schools, districts, and communities.

Other keynotes include Pedro A. Noguera, distinguished professor of education at the University of California–Los Angeles, who will draw on his body of research to discuss how educators can provide all students with an equitable and empowering education; Hamish Brewer, an unconventional middle school principal from Fredericksburg, VA, whose educational philosophy is “be relentless”; and Renée Watson, a New York Times bestselling author who facilitated poetry workshops with New Orleans youth in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Clinton also has ties to the New Orleans community. In summer 2018, she helped launch a local “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read and Sing” campaign—a Too Small to Fail initiative of the Clinton Foundation—that provides parents and caregivers with resources to boost early brain development and language skills. In Louisiana, nearly half of all children (46%) enter kindergarten unprepared, lagging in critical language, reading, and social-emotional skills.

“As a person and a public figure, Chelsea has been outspoken about her early love of reading and how that shaped her future success,” says ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “Her work demonstrates that growing a culture of literacy takes place outside of school as well as within it.”

The ILA 2019 Conference will bring together thousands of literacy educators, professionals, and advocates from around the world to connect with and learn from leaders in the field and exchange ideas, best practices, and resources for literacy instruction. To learn more, visit ilaconference.org.

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


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  1. Alina O'Donnell | Feb 26, 2019

    Hi, Ms. Norris,

    Thank you for your comment. We value feedback from members like you and appreciate you reaching out.  

    ILA General Sessions feature a wide variety of speakers, including children’s literature authors like Renée Watson and Chelsea Clinton—neither of whom are receiving any form of compensation.

    Ms. Clinton’s appearance is not politically motivated, nor will she address politics in her keynote. Ms. Clinton and Ms. Watson both have ties to the New Orleans communities; the former launched an early literacy initiative there last summer and the latter helped children cope with the trauma of Hurricane Katrina through creative writing. Their keynotes will include information about their experiences in the community as well as discussion about their books for children. Ms. Clinton will also be participating in a Q&A with 2018 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year Kimberly Eckert.

    The General Session kicks off the Core Conference, which offers two full days of peer-reviewed sessions that focus on specific evidence-based teaching practices and literacy research. There are so many opportunities for educators to learn and deepen their practice. We hope you will join us in New Orleans and experience this for yourself.

  2. Donna Norris | Feb 25, 2019

    I am getting a Master's degree in Reading Instruction, and was highly encouraged to join ILA. On the recommendation of my professor, I did just that. I was very excited today when I logged into the ILA site as a member and what is the first thing I saw? The "speakers" for the 2019 ILA convention and topping the list is CHELSEA CLINTON.

    Since WHEN does Chelsea Clinton know ANYTHING about teaching reading, strategies for teaching reading or teaching teachers to teach reading? When did Miss. Clinton become an expert on reading instruction? I did not think that an organization such as ILA would take my hard earned money I make as an ACTUAL teacher and use it to endorse ANYTHING political. The idea that my money went to HIRE Chelsea Clinton for the ILA convention frankly makes me sick to my stomach.

    I dropped out of the teacher's union for this very same thing-entangling politics with what the union and if I may say so the ILA from what it is they (you) are supposed to stand for. When will you and every other educational organization stop leaning so far to the left and assume every member is just going to go along with it? Please keep your political opinions to yourselves and stop using members money to push your agenda.

    If you are going to incorporate politics in your agenda, at least make it "equitable" and include the other side.  You guys are so big on being "equitable" (Another speaker's agenda topic) why don't you try it some time? You should be honest with your members about what the ILA's agenda really is. 

    Needless to say, I am very disappointed.



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