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    Resources to Celebrate Digital Learning Day 2018

     | Feb 21, 2018

    Digital Learning DayEach year, states, districts, schools, and classrooms across the United States and around the world hold thousands of events to celebrate Digital Learning Day (DLD). Created by the Alliance for Excellent Education in 2012, DLD offers educators an opportunity to collaborate with peers, exchange ideas, experiment with new digital tools, and showcase innovative practices that are improving student outcomes.

    At the heart of Digital Learning Day is an emphasis on equity—ensuring equitable access to high-quality digital learning opportunities. The event was started as a way to “actively spread innovative practices” to all schools and students.

    The event website provides digital tools, resources, lessons, and webinars to power your DLD activities. For more ideas, check out the links below:

    • ILA’s Technology in Literacy Education-Special Interest Group contributes weekly blog posts on topics in technology and literacy.
    • ReadWriteThink houses a collection of classroom activities, websites, lesson plans, and related resources to help classrooms celebrate DLD.
    • Edutopia published a piece on why and how we can engage parents in DLD.
    • Common Sense Media’s K–12 Digital Citizenship Program features lesson plans, student-facing videos, interactive games, teacher-training and family education materials. Use the "Scope & Sequence" tool to find the perfect lesson.
    • ILA published several resources, including a brief, blog series, and Twitter chat, that explore how educators can foster digital equity for all students.
    • The Teaching Tolerance Digital Literacy Framework addresses seven key areas in which students need support developing digital and civic literacy skills.
    • Digital Tools Aim to Personalize Literacy Instruction,” an article published by Education Week, shares edtech tools that are “rapidly expanding the ways in which teachers can differentiate their literacy and reading instruction.”

    Follow @OfficialDLDay on Twitter for updates and learn more at digitallearningday.org.

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

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    ILA's Latest Brief Helps Educators Explain Phonics Instruction to Families

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Feb 20, 2018

    Explaining Phonics InstructionDespite ongoing debates over how to teach reading, research has proven that phonics instruction is an essential element of a comprehensive literacy program, according to ILA’s latest brief, Explaining Phonics Instruction: An Educator’s Guide. Phonics helps students to learn the written correspondences between letters, patterns of letters and sounds, leading to word knowledge.

    “Because phonics is often students’ first experience with formal literacy instruction,” states the brief, “families might be anxious about their children’s learning.” Educators can assuage these concerns by answering families’ questions and by providing effective at-home learning activities.

    The brief shares research-based insights to explain the what, the when and the how of phonics instruction to noneducators, providing guidance on phonics for emerging readers, phonological awareness, the layers of writing, word study instruction, approaches to teaching phonics and teaching English learners.

    Key takeaways include the following:

    • Students should have acquired phonological awareness, concepts of print, concepts of word of text and alphabetic principles before beginning to learn phonics.
    • Most phonics programs incorporate both analytic and synthetic activities.
    • Word study is an approach to teach the alphabetic layer (basic letter–sound correspondences) and pattern layer (consonant–vowel patterns) of the writing system by including spelling instruction that is differentiated by students’ development.
    • Phonics instruction depends on the characteristics of a specific language; students who learn to read in multiple languages apply phonics that fit the respective letter–sound, pattern, and meaning layers.
    • Emergent bilingual readers and writers use their knowledge of one language to learn other languages.

    To read more, visit the brief here

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

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    Registration Opens for the ILA 2018 Conference

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Feb 12, 2018
    ila-2018-reg

    Registration is now open for the ILA 2018 Conference, which will be held in Austin, TX, July 20–23. Thousands of literacy educators, professionals, and advocates from around the world will gather to connect with and learn from leaders in the field.

    Amid widening socioeconomic disparities, changing student demographics, and an increasingly technology-driven workforce, equity in literacy education has never been more important. With the theme “Be a Changemaker,” the conference will focus on strategies for fostering positive change in literacy education.

    This year’s conference is comprised of three components: Institute Day on Friday, July 20, the Core Conference on Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22, and Children’s Literature Day on Monday, July 23. Registration packages offer discounts and special incentives for bundling events.

    ILA 2018’s new format is designed to deliver a more customized learning experience. Three learning tracks will be offered: Administrators as Literacy Leaders, Literacy Coaching, and Literacy Research.

    The two-day Core Conference kicks off Saturday with an ILA General Session fueled by the changemaker theme. Three keynotes will draw on their own experiences of overcoming adversity, sharing stories of impact about how they’re changing the system from within.

    Nadia Lopez, the founding principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, will discuss how administrators must serve as literacy leaders for their schools and districts. Lopez’s story went viral when the popular Humans of New York (HONY) blog featured one of her students, who cited Lopez as the most influential person in his life. A fundraising campaign ensued, collecting more than $1.4 million  for Mott Hall, a middle school in one of the poorest and most violent neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Lopez’s vision for the school—which she says she opened to close a prison—was to give the youth in her community a way up and out.

    Frequent ILA speaker and lead staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Cornelius Minor takes the main stage at ILA 2018. In previous years, Minor has moved and inspired conference attendees with his talks on digital literacy and access, confronting difficult topics in the classroom, and literacy as a social and political tool for building equity in education. This year, Minor will continue to speak frankly on issues of race and educational equity, challenging attendees to confront their own biases and work toward creating truly inclusive schools and classrooms. 

    Finally, there’s Adan Gonzalez, the son of Mexican-American immigrants living in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Dallas, TX. Gonzalez, the recipient of a Gates Millennium Scholarship that funded both his undergraduate and graduate degrees, created the Puede Network when he was a sophomore at Georgetown. The organization’s charge is to mentor students and break cycles of under-education. After earning a master’s from Harvard Graduate School of Education, Gonzalez returned to his childhood school, James Bowie Elementary, to teach third grade.

    Learn more and register for the ILA 2018 Conference here.

    Alina O’Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily. 
     
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    Advocate, Leader, Humanitarian: ILA Mourns the Loss of Dr. William H. Teale

    By Lara Deloza
     | Feb 05, 2018

    teale-headshotToday the literacy field is reeling from the loss of an influential educator, tireless advocate, and dear friend, Dr. William H. Teale.

    Teale, the Immediate Past President of the International Literacy Association (ILA), passed away unexpectedly Saturday, in his home in Evanston, IL. He is survived by his loving wife, Junko Yokota, and two children, Alyssa and Jeremy, among other family members and friends.

    He was a professor of education, university scholar, and director of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Literacy (CFL), a public service and research center that works to improve literacy education, policy, and research at the local, state, and national levels. As part of his role at the CFL, he headed projects that provide economically underresourced families with services that facilitate their children’s early development and school readiness.

    Teale’s body of work focused on early literacy learning, the intersection of technology and literacy education, and children’s literature. One current project centered on the implementation of a networked improvement community focused on principals' instructional leadership for literacy in eight Chicago public schools. He authored more than 150 professional publications and traveled constantly, presenting conference papers and colloquia in over 25 countries around the world.

    He served as a consultant to school districts and libraries across the United States, as well as to Children’s Television Workshop, Head Start, public television, Reach Out and Read, and NGOs in developing programs focused on literacy learning and teaching. In review and advisory capacities, he worked for entities such as the National Academy of Education, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    The contributions he made to the field are immeasurable and led to his induction into the Reading Hall of Fame in 2003.

    teale-action-shotDuring his tenure on the Board of Directors of ILA, including his 2016–17 term as president, Teale led several initiatives, including cochairing the ILA Global Task Force, a group that worked to emphasize a global agenda and matching model of governance in the organization. He was an integral member of the ILA/National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Task Force on Literacy Teacher Preparation. He also helped guide the organization during its transition from the International Reading Association to ILA.

    Although his list of professional accomplishments and honors are plentiful enough to fill a book, the hole he leaves in the literacy community runs so much deeper.

    Teale was incredibly passionate about early literacy and the importance of diverse, quality children’s literature, and he decried the inequities across the globe that denied access to both. He was the very definition of a literacy leader.

    “These are trying times,” he said in his keynote address at the ILA 2017 Conference. “And there’s nothing more important than what we as educators do to help develop readers and writers who have the knowledge and the imagination and the self-reflection and the empathy to make the times better.”

    He leaves behind a legacy as a staunch early literacy advocate, a devoted mentor, and an incredible human being.

    Lara Deloza is the senior communications manager at the International Literacy Association.

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    A Pathway to Equity: Resources for Administrators

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Feb 01, 2018

    administratorsMore than ever, administrators who are passionate, knowledgeable, and advocates for literacy are needed in our schools and districts. According to ILA’s 2018 What’s Hot in Literacy Report, more than 81% of literacy/instructional coaches and 76% of reading/literacy specialists said the topic of Administrators as Literacy Leaders is extremely or very important to them. Results show a desire for more preparation and knowledge for wider support and involvement across communities.

    Principals and administrators provide direction and guidance in communities worldwide, setting both the standards to which teachers aspire and the goals for students to meet. They influence curriculum and instruction, hiring and training practices, resource allocations, discipline policies, and more—elements of school culture that promote literacy and educational equity. Without their support, even the most competent and ambitious educators will find it difficult—if not impossible—to bring about meaningful change.

    ILA West 2018 attendees will participate in focused, hands-on, workshop-style sessions to address issues of equity in education and discuss how to bridge the opportunity gap for historically underserved students. As we count down to the event, administrators can gear up with the free online resources below:

    • Last April, ILA conducted an #ILAchat on “Literacy Begins With Leadership.” Hosted by superintendents Glenn Robbins and Randy Ziegenfus, participants discussed the value of administrators as literacy leaders in communities and schools. The conversation is archived on Storify.
    • The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development compiled a list of articles, webinars, and other online learning resources that school leaders can use to promote a positive school climate and school culture.
    • Launched by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the Digital Equity Action Toolkit for district leaders aims to help district leaders develop thoughtful and measured strategies to narrow the digital divide in their communities.
    • Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning, a report published by the Education Trust, describes the urgency of making low-income, low-performing schools attractive workplaces, and how some schools and districts are doing it.
    • Responding to Hate and Bias at School and Speak Up at School, two free booklets published by Teaching Tolerance, provide direction for administrators and educators trying to build an inclusive, affirming school climate.
    • Closing the Gap: Creating Equity in the Classroom, a report by Hanover Research, provides strategies, resources, and tools to help district leaders craft schoolwide reform efforts that address academic expectations, access to learning opportunities, high-quality instruction, resource allocation, and accountability to achieve educational equity.
    • Chris Lehman, Founding Director of The Educator Collaborative, wrote an article for Edutopia on “How Leaders Can Improve Their Schools’ Cultural Competence.”
    • Last December, ILA and the National Association of Secondary School Principals cosponsored a briefing titled “Improving Student Literacy: Leadership Needed at Every Level” in Washington, DC. The briefing brought together a group of literacy leaders, policymakers, advocates, and educators who spoke to Congressional staffers from key Senate and House education committees about the critical importance of effective leadership at all levels. A recap of the event is available here.

    Themed “Literacy: A Pathway to Equity,” the inaugural ILA West 2018 will take place March 16–17 in San Diego, CAWithin the strand for administrators, participants will hear from students, teachers, principals, and district leaders about what is most important when leading literacy in schools and communities. Breakout sessions will focus on learning, sharing, and discussing key concepts around equity and student language support when reviewing your literacy program, including pedagogy and materials. Learn more and register here.

    Alina O’Donnell is the editor of Literacy Daily.

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