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How to Raise and Teach Anti-Racist Kids
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    Overcoming Racial Injustice: A Call to Action

    By ILA Staff
     | Jun 19, 2020

    We Stand for Racial JusticeIn response to the tragic murder of George Floyd on May 25, there have been widespread demonstrations around the world calling for systemic changes to end racial injustices. The editorial teams from our three academic journals Reading Research Quarterly, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, and The Reading Teacher composed a joint statement about how to counter the racism within the academic setting. Below are the four steps identified by the ILA academic editorial teams, why each is important, and how ILA’s journals will rise to these challenges.

    1. Acknowledge, value, and support BIPOC colleagues and students.

    This work involves learning about histories of oppression, practicing anti-racist behaviors, and participating in just causes. It also involves looking beyond traditional research positions to see value in challenges to hegemonic positions and expansion of research methods. Last, it involves mentoring as well as actively promoting and collaborating with BIPOC scholars.

    ILA’s journals will activate this by promoting and supporting BIPOC scholars, including authors and editorial board members. We will do this by disseminating the work of BIPOC scholars through social media and other distribution outlets, as well as by providing more mentoring support to BIPOC scholars who hope to publish in ILA’s journals.

    2. Find ways to encourage and initiate more literacy research submissions that focus on supporting BIPOC communities.

    As journal editors, we are calling for manuscripts that provide deeper and better understandings of literacy and its role vis-à-vis BIPOC communities. We specifically ask researchers to submit manuscripts that highlight the voices and experiences of marginalized students, teachers, and underrepresented communities, as well as take a strength-based view.

    We have worked to make ILA journals a place where all methods and perspectives can find a home, but we are not receiving the volume of submissions needed in this vein. Recruiting and serving as reviewers allows us to fast-track submissions and adjudicate work with as much speed as we are capable.

    3. Get involved in efforts to fund more literacy research that addresses inequities across racial groups.

    All funding agencies depend on us as literacy researchers to tell them what work is worthy of recognition and support. We can and should make this a priority. ILA journals will support this by publishing more work by BIPOC scholars that attends to experiences of marginalized communities, which we hope will fuel interest and support of scholars applying for such grants.

    4. Increase the quality of literacy instruction grounded in representative curricular materials supported by research that addresses the specific needs of BIPOC teachers and students.

    Right now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional literacy instruction for students from nondominant communities has to a large extent ceased or slackened. Unless we can figure out ways to better provide this instruction (through digital devices, access to the internet, curriculum that meets the needs of BIPOC students), the literacy learning needs of BIPOC students will suffer. Again, we believe that our community of literacy researchers is uniquely well-positioned to address this need.

    Robert T. Jiménez and Amanda Goodwin
    Editors, Reading Research Quarterly

    Kelly Chandler-Olcott and Kathleen A. Hinchman
    Editors, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy

    Robin Griffith and Jan Lacina
    Editors, The Reading Teacher

    Marcie Craig Post
    ILA Executive Director

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    ILA Partners With #KidLit4BlackLives Community

    By ILA Staff
     | Jun 15, 2020

    KidLit4BlackLives logoThe International Literacy Association (ILA), in partnership with Kwame Alexander, award-winning children’s book author and founding editor of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint Versify, announced today “How to Raise and Teach Anti-Racist Kids,” a Facebook Live event starting at 7:00 p.m. ET this Thursday, June 18.

    The free event is a follow-up to June 4’s overwhelmingly successful KidLit Rally for Black Lives, hosted by advocacy group The Brown Bookshelf. Alexander, a frequent ILA conference keynoter, organized the rally with fellow authors Jacqueline Woodson and Jason Reynolds in less than 48 hours—a “roll of thunder” call to action in response to the killing of George Floyd in late May.

    “Teachers and parents must educate and empower students to imagine a better world,” said Alexander. “For that to happen in the classroom and at home, they’ve got to be better prepared. The rally, this town hall, are all small efforts to get them ready for this paramount work.”  

    “How to Raise and Teach Anti-Racist Kids” is a perfect example of “the work we [at ILA] should be doing,” said ILA Vice President of the Board Dr. Stephen G. Peters, who will deliver opening remarks.

    “ILA is an anti-racist organization that stands for justice and equality,” Peters asserted in a joint statement issued by ILA leadership earlier this month.

    The first half of Thursday’s event will be a panel discussion moderated by Alexander, followed by a 45-minute Q&A. Panelists include educators Cornelius Minor, author of We Got This: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be; Tiffany M. Jewell, author of This Book is Anti-Racist; Pam Allyn, global literacy expert and coauthor (with Dr. Ernest Morrell) of Every Child a Super Reader; and Dr. Noni Thomas López, head of school at The Gordon School in Providence, R.I., in addition to Karyn Parsons, author and founder of Sweet Blackberry, a nonprofit with a mission “to bring little known stories of African American achievement to children everywhere.”

    Parsons is best known for playing Hilary Banks on the 1990s NBC sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” but hers is just one familiar face: Minor is a longtime ILA collaborator and an important figure in the organization’s social justice work.

    At the ILA 2016 Conference, which took place in Boston, MA, literally days after police shootings claimed the lives of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Minor facilitated an on-the-fly session modeling how teachers could talk about emotionally charged and controversial issues in the classroom.

    The following year, Minor delivered powerful remarks at ILA’s inaugural equity panel—inspired by his session at ILA 2016—which also featured Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones.

    Thursday’s event marks an important next step in the #ILAequity movement, said Peters. He added, “This is just the beginning of much more to come.”

    WHAT: How to Raise and Teach Anti-Racist Kids
    WHEN: Thursday, June 18, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. ET
    WHERE: https://www.facebook.com/InternationalLiteracyAssociation/

    HASHTAGS: #KidLit4BlackLives; #ILAequity

    The live event will have an ASL interpreter, available through the support of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Closed captioning will be available on the archived recording.

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    Challenging Eurocentric Perspectives and Practices in Literacy Education

    By Etta Hollins
     | Jun 11, 2020

    Etta HollinsWe received this letter from ILA member Etta Hollins, who granted her permission to publish it on Literacy Now. Thank you, Professor Hollins, for your thoughtful contribution and call to action.

    The police killing of George Floyd has brought discussions of systemic racism to the forefront. Colleges, universities, professional organizations, major companies of every description, and regular citizens have acknowledged the presence of systemic racism in the society and many have written letters to students, colleagues, and employees supporting the protests and making a commitment to equity and social justice. It is time for educational practitioners, scholars, and researchers to engage in introspection regarding systemic racism in teaching practices, teacher preparation, and educational research. We can begin this discussion by acknowledging barriers in African American people’s struggle for literacy.

    African American people’s struggle for literacy in the United States has been long, difficult, and framed by the barriers of systemic racism in pedagogical practices, educational research, and legal authority. During slavery, it was illegal to teach slaves to read. Yet, out of slavery came such notable individuals as educator Booker T. Washington and scientist George Washington Carver. The often-inferior facilities, resources, and materials provided in segregated schools after slavery produced notable scholars and leaders of the Civil Rights movement including the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Congressman John Lewis, and many education practitioners, scholars, and researchers. In the face of this historical background, many education practitioners, scholars, and researchers make the claims that African American children are unable to learn to read because they lack the necessary home environment, role models, access to printed texts, and vocabulary. These are nonsensical claims given the fact that many children learned to read while experiencing the trauma of slavery.

    Today, the struggle for African American children’s literacy is as challenging as its difficult history. Teachers are trained in recently mandated Eurocentric perspectives and practices that dominate research in reading instruction. Several familiar national panels, commissions, and committees have determined that the only proven way to teach early literacy is by using a Eurocentric code-based phonetic approach. The corollary to this conclusion is that those children not learning to read using this approach have either a learning disability or deficit and deprivation in the home or community. Consequently, African American children are disproportionately identified as learning disabled, placed in special education, and denied opportunities for developing full literacy. This fits the definition of systemic racism.

    I am proposing that we [in the field of literacy education] begin a serious discussion of systemic racism in literacy practices and research and that we take responsibility for our contribution to systemic racism in the society.

    We invite you to share your thoughts via email or social media by tagging our Twitter handle, messaging us on Facebook, or posting to our Linked In group.
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    International Literacy Association Names New Editor Team for Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy

    By ILA Staff
     | Jun 10, 2020

    The International Literacy Association (ILA) announced today the appointment of five literacy scholars from Salisbury University in Maryland as the incoming editors of the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy (JAAL), the leading peer-reviewed journal for educators of literacy learners ages 12 and older. Their four-year term will begin on July 1, 2020.

    The new editors are as follows:

    Judith FranzakJudith Franzak, Senior Editor

    Laurie HenryLaurie Henry, Associate Editor

    Koomi KimKoomi Kim, Associate Editor

    Heather PorterHeather Porter, Associate Editor

    Thea WilliamsonThea Williamson, Associate Editor

    “We couldn’t be prouder to welcome this team to the ILA journal family,” said ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “They represent an impressive group of visionaries who are dedicated to shaping the future of literacy research and elevating new voices.”

    Among the team’s goals: increasing contributions from scholars outside of North America and a heavier emphasis on family and community-based applications. They also hope to expand the journal’s reach through social media.

    JAAL, the only literacy journal published exclusively for teachers of older learners, reflects current theory, research, and practice in support of effective literacy instruction. In addition to middle school, secondary, and postsecondary classroom teachers, its readership includes university researchers and scholars, literacy consultants, administrators, and policymakers.

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    International Literacy Association Names New Editor Team for The Reading Teacher

    By ILA Staff
     | Jun 10, 2020

    LogoThe International Literacy Association (ILA) announced today the appointment of five literacy scholars from Michigan State University as incoming editors for The Reading Teacher (RT), the leading peer-reviewed journal for educators of literacy learners up to age 12. Their four-year term begins on July 1, 2020.

    The new editors are as follows:

    Tanya WrightTanya Wright, Senior Editor

    Edwards PatPatricia Edwards, Coeditor

    RTortorelli LauraLaura Tortorelli, Associate Editor

    Lucia CardenasLucía Cárdenas Curiel, Associate Editor

    Al-AdeimiShireen Al-Adeimi, Associate Editor

    Wright, Edwards, and Tortorelli all have long histories of service and engagement with ILA. Edwards, in fact, is a past president of the International Reading Association (now the International Literacy Association). The team's collective research interests include foundational skills, biliteracy, and family engagement.

    “Together, our work spans a broad range of ages, developmental stages, and critical focus areas,” they noted in their application.

    “As we welcome this extraordinary editorial team, we also usher in a new era for The Reading Teacher,” said ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “The perspectives they bring, combining both established and rising voices in the field, will be critical in our mission to elevate the reach of the journal and explore new opportunities for engagement.”

    Among those opportunities: a robust strategy for leveraging social media, which the team believes is key to amplifying the journal’s content. Plans include a podcast series with authors and fostering discourse on Twitter.  

    RT has provided educators with practical teaching ideas grounded in theory and research for more than 60 years. The journal focuses on primary and elementary classroom instruction and is written by educators for educators, providing practical, evidence-based teaching ideas, articles to help educators transform research into effective practice, and information on the most critical issues in teaching and professional development.


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