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The International Literacy Association (ILA) released the 2017 What’s Hot in Literacy survey findings today, revealing wide gaps between what educators across the globe consider important topics in literacy education and those garnering the most attention. Among the surprising results: Digital literacy, as well as assessment and standards, although widely discussed in educator circles, rank lower in importance than other issues among the more than 1,500 literacy leaders from 89 countries and territories surveyed.
“An analysis of survey findings from a cross-sector of literacy leaders from Argentina to Zambia indicates a need to redirect conversations around literacy with a focus on what is important to literacy educators,” said ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “Identifying these gaps, and then developing solutions to narrow them, will help the global community move the needle on literacy.”
This year, respondents were asked to rate 17 topics in terms of how hot and important they are to literacy education at both their community and country levels. Hot was defined as trending—the topics related to literacy that are receiving the most attention in the classroom, in conversations with other educators, and in the media. Important was defined as topics that are most critical to advancing literacy for all learners.
Here’s a look at some of the key findings:
In addition to featuring report highlights and feedback from top literacy professionals in Literacy Today, the entire report is also available with open access on ILA’s website. On Thursday, Jan. 12, ILA’s monthly Twitter chat will feature What’s Hot results and Sam Patterson at 8:00 p.m. ET. Join the conversation on social media using #ILAchat during the chat or #ILAWhatsHot at any time.
The What’s Hot in Literacy survey was created 20 years ago by Jack Cassidy, past president of the International Reading Association (IRA), now ILA. Cassidy compiled responses from about two dozen literacy leaders on “hot” and “cold” topics each year. The results were published annually in IRA’s member newspaper, now Literacy Today magazine, and they traditionally helped foster relevant professional development, promote timely research, and shape conversations around literacy education. His last report was published in 2016.
April Hall is editor of Literacy Daily. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has specialized in education, writing and editing for newspapers, websites, and magazines.
Elizabeth Reichardt, a reading specialist and instructional coach at Ponaganset High School in Rhode Island, was named the 2016 Teacher of the Year for the Foster-Glocester Regional School District. Reichardt, who has worked in the district for four years, was surprised with the award at a faculty meeting in June, where staff praised her work, particularly her efforts with the school’s RTI team.
Anita Shaw was named Reading Teacher of the Year by the Granite State Reading Council in New Hampshire. Shaw has worked at Bow Memorial School since 1995 as a reading and writing specialist and an ELA, social studies, and math teacher. She has also volunteered for New Hampshire Literacy Day for the past nine years.
Eugene M. Gagliano was named the next Wyoming Poet Laureate. Gagliano, a retired elementary school teacher from Buffalo, WY, has written a number of award-winning children’s books and poetry about Wyoming and life in the West. As Poet Laureate, he will read at state and legislative events, as well as work with the Wyoming Arts Council to instill a love of poetry in students.
Rebecca Pitkin was named the new executive director of the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board, providing a unique opportunity to work with both K–12 and higher education professionals. Pitkin had served for the past four years as principal of Jefferson Elementary School in Dickinson, and before that was an associate professor of education at Dickinson State University.
Have news to share with your ILA colleagues? Send an announcement about an award received, book published, or other career news to firstname.lastname@example.org and it could appear in the next issue of Literacy Today as well as on our blog, Literacy Daily. The submission should be 200 words or less and should be accompanied by a JPG or PNG photo.
The International Literacy Association (ILA) is proud to announce its second annual 30 Under 30 list in the September/October issue of Literacy Today, ILA’s bimonthly member magazine. This list celebrates some of the best and the brightest young activists and visionaries in literacy for advocating, promoting, and improving literacy and education efforts across the globe.
This second class of honorees hails from all over the world, working in—and, in many cases, building—schools and using nonprofit organizations, social entrepreneurship, publishing firms, and more to create novel ways of forwarding the cause of worldwide literacy.
Those on ILA’s inaugural 30 Under 30 list from last year have gained attention both locally and internationally. At the ILA 2016 Conference & Exhibits, they were not only recognized at the Association’s awards ceremony, but also many presented on the work that got them recognized. ILA hopes 2016’s 30 Under 30 honorees will stay engaged throughout the year, share their experiences, and continue to inspire future literacy leaders.
Find a complete list of the 2016 30 Under 30 class and information about their literacy accomplishments in the newest issue of Literacy Today.
Samantha Brant is ILA’s communications intern.
International Literacy Day is about focusing attention on worldwide literacy needs. In order to get global awareness directly into the classroom, ILA created a free Activity Kit with ideas for every age group encompassing culture, history, geography, and more.
This year, our theme, “Steps to Advance Literacy,” serves two purposes: We’re focusing on Jamaica—a small island where big things happen—and bringing awareness to the distance students in some countries must travel each day just to get to school.
Around the world, students can walk as far as five miles in each direction to get to a school. We’re also lacing up our sneakers and hitting the streets to put ourselves in these students’ shoes. In our Service Project Kit, you’ll find information on how to join our Steps to Advance Literacy initiative by tracking your steps as an individual, class, school, or community.
Though International Literacy Day is officially Sept. 8, we’d like to encourage you to sign up to get your ILD kit now and start thinking about how you can incorporate these activities into your classroom. Be sure to share your stories and photos with us on social media using the hashtag #ILD16. You'll not only be helping your students, but also shining a spotlight on global literacy needs.
Let's take steps to advance literacy, together!