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    Embracing the Unknown with ILA General Session Speaker Enrique C. Feldman

    By Colleen Clark
     | May 25, 2017
    Enrique Feldman

    Enrique C. Feldman’s goal was to develop his potential more fully when he left his position as professor of music and education at the University of Arizona (UA) in 1997. It was a comfortable, secure job, but he felt there was a greater purpose for him.

    That idea got its start when he took an early childhood music education class during his undergraduate time at UA and was enthralled by the energy of the 3- to 7-year-olds

    “That experience kept calling me over the years,” Feldman says. “I also became a dad, [which] completely immersed me into the world and the imagination of the child. I became fascinated with how young children learn.”

    And so a man with an undergraduate in music and two master’s degrees in music education and conducting and performance departed UA in search of ways he could get involved in education in a more holistic sense—going beyond teaching music to educating the whole child.

    The result: Feldman is now the founder and director of education for the Global Learning Foundation (GLF), a play-based and research-based organization that offers professional development for schools and organizations of all types. At GLF, Feldman has taken everything he’s learned over the years—from music and composition to improv and play—and channeled it into a literacy learning approach that values engagement, connection, energy, and community. He promotes trusting your instincts and knowing when to take risks, authentic learning and frameworks, and building what he calls “Possibility Culture.”

    Now, helping others develop their full potential is a large focus for Feldman, who already wears many hats, including music composer, producer, and author of Living Like a Child: Learn, Live, and Teach Creatively (Redleaf), Sam the Ant, a new children’s book series he’s cowriting with his 22-year-old daughter, and iBG, Intellectual Brainwave Games, which improve cognition and patterning and reduce stress.

    Come July, he’ll add a new title to the list: ILA 2017 Opening General Session speaker. And the theme of the session, Literacy Reimagined, couldn’t be more in tune with Feldman’s story.

    Read the open access March/April issue of Literacy Today for just a peek at what you can expect from Feldman, in his own words.

    Colleen Patrice Clark is the managing editor of Literacy Today.

    Enrique C. Feldman will speak at the Opening General Session of the ILA 2017 Conference & Exhibits on Saturday, July 15. Attendees can also experience more of his brain games and improv techniques at his session, “Preparing the Brain and Body for Learning and Literacy,” on Sunday, July 16, and at the ILA Power Hour Lunch on Monday, July 17. 

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    ILA Announces 2017 Board Election Results

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | May 17, 2017

    The results are confirmed, and we are pleased to announce the International Literacy Association's (ILA) elected Board members, including our new Vice President:

    Bernadette DwyerBernadette Dwyer, Lecturer in Literacy Studies, Institute of Education, Dublin City University (DCU), Ireland



    Three new Board members-at-large were also elected:

    Beverley HarrisBeverley E. Harris, Adjunct Lecturer, Mico University College and University of the West Indies, Jamaica



    Susan PaaschSusan Paasch,
    Principal, Mississippi Heights Elementary School, Minnesota



    Julia ReynoldsJulia Reynolds
    , English Language Arts Program Manager, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, GA


    Their terms will run from 2017–2020.

    The entire ILA community extends its best wishes to the newly elected Vice President and Board members. 

    Alina O'Donnell is the editor of Literacy Daily.
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    #ILAChat About Choices: Using Booklists in the Classroom

    By Clare Maloney
     | May 09, 2017

    ILAcaht hosts Jennifer Fox and Shannon Miller_w200Putting quality books into the hands of kids can change their lives, but how do educators find the right reading material for students? This month’s #ILAChat focuses on using booklists, like the recently released Choices reading lists, to find appropriate, engaging, and diverse books to fill classroom libraries and to recommend to readers of all ages.

    Each year during Children’s Book Week, ILA releases the Choices reading lists. Composed of three different lists—Children’s Choices, which is cosponsored by the Children’s Book Council; Young Adults’ Choices; and Teachers’ Choices—the project is a nationwide effort to compile each year’s favorite, newly published titles into carefully selected, easily accessible lists. The goal is to ensure every classroom has a wide range of guaranteed enjoyable reads for students by providing them with these recommendations. What better way to empower young readers than to fill their classrooms with books chosen by the readers themselves?

    Follow @ILAToday to join our #ILAChat hosts Jennifer Fox (@JenniferFox13) and Shannon Miller (@shannonmiller) and to let us know what you think about this year’s Choices Reading Lists results. The chat will take place Thursday, May 11, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

    Jennifer Fox was a team leader for the 2017 Teachers’ Choices list. She worked to receive, review, and distribute this year’s titles to schools across one of five regions of the U.S. She recently completed her doctoral studies at the University of Missouri with a dissertation study entitled, “Secondary Literacy Teachers’ Use of a Twitter Chat Community for Voluntary Ongoing Professional Learning.” When she’s not busy sifting through piles of children’s literature, she is a tech-minded professor in Bolivar, MO, as well as a wife and mother of two.

    Shannon Miller served as the K-12 district teacher librarian at the Van Meter Community School District in Iowa for 8 years. She is currently an international speaker and consultant, as well as author of the award-winning blog The Library Voice. Shannon is also the Future Ready Libraries and Project Connect Spokesperson, Buncee's Teacher Librarian Advisor, and Cantata Learning's Teacher Librarian Advocate. She has a passion for education, librarianship, technology, and social media. She is also a wife and mother to three amazing children.

    Follow @ILAToday and use the hashtag #ILAChat to join the conversation.

    Clare Maloney is an intern at the International Literacy Association. She is currently seeking a BA in English from the University of Delaware.
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    LCEF Poll Shows Growing Perception of Racial Disparities in Education

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | May 04, 2017

    LCEF Poll2017 is a pivotal year for education policy in the United States. Right now, state leaders are creating plans and policies to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which serves to ensure excellence and equity in all public schools.

    Historically, education policy has not reflected the diverse needs and desires of all communities. As we reshape the education system, is critically important that families of color—the new majority of public school parents—are represented in conversations about education reform.

    To amplify their voices, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, by way of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, conducted its second annual New Education Majority Poll: a national survey that "captures the beliefs of Black and Latino parents and families and reveals the actual perspectives, aspirations, and concerns that they have about their children’s education and the education system itself." 

    The poll revealed that perceptions of racial disparities among black and Latino parents are more pronounced than last year. Key findings include the following:

    • The overwhelming majority of survey participants believe schools with mostly white students receive more funding than schools with mostly black students and schools with mostly Latino students.
    • Both groups cited lack of funding as the main reason for racial disparities in education, followed by racial bias, lower teacher quality, lack of opportunity, lack of parental involvement, poor school facilities, and language problems.
    • Black and Latino parents and family members whose children attend schools with mostly white students are more likely to rate their child’s school as “excellent.”
    • Parents and family members of color whose child’s teachers are mostly white are more likely to agree with the statement “Schools in the U.S. are not really trying to educate black/Latino students” than those with mostly black or mostly Latino teachers.
    • Both groups cite qualified teachers as the most important indicator of classroom success, followed by a strong curriculum and a safe environment.
    • Black and Latino parents would like their children to be more challenged in school and want all students to be held to the same standards. 
    • Both groups believe that report cards, followed by the student-teacher ratio, are the two most important pieces of information to determine school quality.
    • Parents of color have high expectations for their children, and want their children’s teachers to mirror these expectations.
    • Both groups believe that school funding is best spent on resources (specifically books and computers); advanced classes; increased teacher pay; and extracurricular activities, vocational classes, and after school programs.

    The report concludes with a list of proposed policy changes to address and remedy the concerns expressed by poll participants. Recommendations include integrating implicit bias and cultural responsiveness training into teacher preparation and professional development; monitoring resource distribution (including strong teachers and rigorous courses); preparing, hiring, supporting, and retaining high-quality black and Latino teachers; and designing stronger accountability systems that focus on high academic achievement.

    The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for laws and policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of every person in the United States. In so doing, we also seek to promote an appreciation for the rich diversity of the country, and attitudes that are accepting of our differences and similarities. We were founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (then called the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights), the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition of more than 200 national organizations.

    Alina O'Donnell is the editor of Literacy Daily.

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    ILA Cosponsors Communitywide Reading Initiative in Florida

    By Clare Maloney
     | Apr 14, 2017

    News-2017-04-14_w300For the past 16 years, the One Book, One Community campaign in Central Florida has put thousands of books in the hands of local school children. This year, the International Literacy Association is cosponsoring the initiative along with the Orlando Sentinel Media Group and Publix.

    The premise for the program is simple:  one book is selected for students, parents, teachers, and other community members to read and discuss together through a series of events, all with the purpose of promoting literacy.

    The 2017 book selection is Frindle (1998, Atheneum) by Andrew Clements. The story follows fifth grader Nick Allen as he navigates the consequences of one ridiculous, yet seemingly harmless, classroom prank. Hilarity ensues after the entire class starts participating, as well as members of the whole town.

    The One Book, One Community campaign runs April 9 through May 16 and is expected to involve more than 100 schools. Throughout the initiative, students ages 5–12 can participate in reading events, word games, and literacy activities related to the book at library locations across Orange and Seminole counties.

    Click here for more information about the events.

    Clare Maloney is an intern at the International Literacy Association. She is currently seeking a BA in English from the University of Delaware.


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