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Literacy Instruction: 2020 and Beyond
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Literacy Instruction: 2020 and Beyond
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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

    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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    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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    ILA Stands for Justice and Equality

    By ILA Board and Executive Team
     | Jun 03, 2020

    ILA_WeStand_blog_680x350Yesterday, one of our Twitter followers asked us, “Do #BlackLivesMatter?”

    The answer is, unequivocally, yes.

    We know words have power. What we say, how we say it, and to whom—all of it carries weight on a so-called normal day.

    But these days, when the world is reeling not only from a global pandemic but also from yet another horrific act of police brutality against a member of the black community, words matter even more.

    So, let’s be clear:

    ILA is an anti-racist organization that stands for justice and equality.

    We aim to embed racial and ethnic equity in everything we do.

    We elevate the voices of those struggling to be heard.

    And we do it all in service of you, your students, and the field of literacy education.

    We are facing an uncertain future, unclear on what schools will look like next year, let alone the next decade.

    What is certain is that sweeping systemic changes are required to ensure equity and inclusivity for all.

    That’s why we continue to invest in evidence-based approaches to social-emotional learning and trauma-responsive instruction.

    We're committed to providing professional learning for educators to guide them in this work. To supporting critical research that will help improve outcomes for every child, everywhere. To influencing educational policy that will disrupt and dismantle systems of oppression in every corner of the world.

    Words don’t mean anything without the actions behind them.

    What will you do today? How will you be an agent of change?

    Let us know how ILA can support your efforts.


    Kathy N. Headley
    President of the Board

    Stephen G. Peters
    Vice President of the Board

    Bernadette Dwyer
    Immediate Past President of the Board

    Marcie Craig Post
    Executive Director

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    ILA Reaffirms Commitment to Supporting Justice Through Literacy

    By ILA Staff
     | Jun 01, 2020

    LogoOne week ago today in Minneapolis, MN, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died when a white police officer pinned him down and kneeled on his neck despite Floyd repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.”

    “I can’t breathe.” Those words have become a rallying cry at protests across the United States and have been chanted across the globe—as was the case in 2014, when similar protests broke out in response to the death of Eric Garner, a 44-year-old black man in Staten Island, NY, who said those same words 11 times before dying as a result of an extended chokehold from a white police officer.

    It is heartbreaking how little progress has been made since 2014, and how many times history has repeated itself in the five and a half decades since the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles, CA.

    With every fresh tragedy, social media feeds fill with demands for social justice, inspiring people to mobilize and take action. 

    And yet, here we are.


    Like many organizations, ILA has denounced unconscionable acts of racially motivated violence and spoken out against systemic racism.   

    Time and again, these efforts have been met with criticism from those who believe a literacy organization like ILA has no business weighing in on political matters.

    When we rejected the notion of making school safe by arming teachers, we were told it wasn’t our place to have an opinion.

    When we presented a conference program addressing LGBTQ students and teachers, we were attacked for pushing a radical agenda.

    When we stood with the American Library Association in protecting the rights of children in border detention centers in the United States, we were told to stay in our lane.

    What those detractors fail to realize is that these issues are squarely in our lane. ILA’s vision is literacy for all. Responding and developing resources in service of improved outcomes for our learners is not only appropriate but also our responsibility.

    At ILA, we always strive to do and be better. This will not stop. We will not shrink into the neutral zone.

    Instead, we will continue to recognize and address biases in classroom instruction, policies, and practices.

    We will continue to acknowledge and address academic disparities among students, particularly students of color.

    We will continue to advocate for classroom and school environments that are diverse, inclusive, affirming, and culturally sensitive.

    We will continue to fight to remove additional identified barriers preventing students from advancing their education.

    We will continue to further the research critical to equitable literacy instruction and systems that give every child, everywhere access to the opportunities, supports, and resources needed to reach their full potential.

    In the coming months, we will focus on trauma-responsive instruction (among other things). Not only because of what happened to George Floyd or Eric Garner or Michael Brown or Sandra Bland or countless others, but also because we must do our part to disrupt and dismantle systems of oppression in every corner of the world.

    We hope that you will join us in these efforts.

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