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    ILA Discontinues Membership in CAEP

    By Lara Deloza
     | Jul 18, 2019
    ila-logoEffective August 1, the International Literacy Association (ILA) will discontinue its membership in the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), an accreditation body of education preparation providers (EPPs) that offer licensure, certificate, and endorsement programs in the United States and/or internationally.

    The relationship between the organizations spans nearly 40 years and two name changes. ILA first became a constituent member of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in 1980, as the International Reading Association (IRA); NCATE merged with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) to become CAEP in 2013.

    Members of ILA's CAEP Committee acted as advisors on the partnership and, along with other ILA literacy professionals, served as program reviewers to strengthen reading/literacy specialist education programs across the United States. EPPs were evaluated based on their alignment with ILA’s Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 and, prior to that, IRA’s Standards 2010. 

    ILA remains committed to strengthening pre-K–12 student learning and will continue to recognize exemplary literacy professional preparation programs through its own independent initiative. 

    For questions, please contact ilanationalrecognition@reading.org.

    Lara Deloza
    is the Director of Brand Content and Communications at the International Literacy Association. 
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    Sharing Successes in the Keystone State: Inspiring Literacy Initiatives Across Pennsylvania

    By Aileen Hower
     | Jul 11, 2019
    collaborative-pl-2

    The Keystone State Literacy Association (KSLA), the Pennsylvania affiliate of
    the International Literacy Association (ILA), is celebrating 50 years of literacy
    leadership across our state this year. At our fall statewide leadership meeting, we
    took the time to share about the wide variety of chapter projects and initiatives
    currently being implemented. There was a great deal of positive energy around
    widespread sharing of ideas.

    After a gallery walk, chapters were able to elaborate on some of the most
    innovative ideas. Chapter leaders enjoyed hearing about similar and new ideas
    for how to serve our members and communities. It was an awe-inspiring time of
    collaboration and connection.

    A few commonalities emerged from the ideas shared. Most ideas fell into the
    following categories: professional learning, advocacy, and engaging with families
    and communities.

    Professional learning

    • Throughout the state, KSLA chapters hold "Teachers as Readers" events to
      talk about and promote the reading of current children's, middle grade, and
      young adult books. Many councils invite the coordinators of the Keystone to
      Reading Book Awards to present on the current books that students can read
      and vote for. The Keystone to Reading Book Awards is a yearly recognition
      of a current picture, poetry, or chapter book, awarded annually at our state
      conference. The awards are chosen entirely by Pennsylvania students.
    • Across the state, especially in chapters such as Central Western, online and
      in-person professional book clubs are being held with members, other local
      teachers, and teachers from other parts of the state.
    • At times, such as with the Brandywine Valley Forge and Delaware Valley
      chapters, miniconferences are held to engage with teachers in specific areas
      and at times outside of our annual conference. This year, topics include
      "Building Community With Social Justice Poetry," "How to Talk About Race
      in Your Classroom," and "Raising Social Awareness Through Conversations
      and Mentor Texts."
    Advocacy

    • A few chapters, such as Franklin County, share literacy information and
      establish partnerships with local doctors' offices, as well as provide books to
      children during wellness checks.
    • Franklin County was also recognized by Pennsylvania’s deputy secretary of education for their work in collaborating with the local intermediate unit to service students who attend a migrant education summer program in their area.
    • We continue to host department of education representatives at our annual conference as well as invite a “standing” member, who focuses her work on language arts, to attend our biannual leadership/statewide meetings.
    • Various chapter leaders attend department of education meetings to share the latest research about literacy with various divisions and statewide initiatives.
    Engaging with families and communities

    • Our Lancaster-Lebanon chapter gives their Celebrate Literacy Award to local literacy initiatives such as "Police, Read to Me."
    • Susquehanna Valley holds “Read to Me Please” summer reading programs for preschool students at a local playground.
    • Many of our chapters participate in laundromat library projects. Books are collected throughout the year at chapter events and baskets are placed in local laundromats so children have something to read while their family is there. In some chapters, books are also donated to women’s shelters or in places where children wait while their parents attend a court hearing.
    • A number of chapters, such as Schuylkill, have established Story Walks through local parks.
    • Across the state, chapters are partnering with other community organizations such as Kiwanis, Salvation Army, the United Way, and local libraries.
    The ideas shared at our meeting were as diverse and unique as each of our local chapters. Most recently, chapters have been holding casual get-togethers for networking and have even been offering painting, massage, and relaxing coloring events to boost teacher morale.

    Those chapters that serve regions that are large in square footage work to host regional or online events. Chapters that represent more diverse populations or urban centers stay committed to serving those communities, ensuring children receive books and families and caregivers learn helpful ideas for promoting literacy in the home. Especially in a time when teachers find attending large conferences difficult, but still desire to keep their literacy teaching skills sharp, all chapters serve their members by hosting authors and professional development speakers, and studying the latest in literacy research.

    We are so proud of all of our members and thankful for our local leaders for their tireless love of and commitment to promoting literacy throughout a lifetime.

    Aileen Hower, an ILA member since 2008, is president of the Keystone State Literacy Association.

    This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Literacy Today, ILA’s member magazine.
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    #ILAchat: What Research Says About Phonics

    By Colleen Patrice Clark
     | Jul 09, 2019
    july-ilachatOur latest literacy leadership brief, Meeting the Challenges of Early Literacy Phonics Instruction, states that phonics is an essential component of early reading and writing instruction and becoming a fluent reader. Phonics has been at the top of many conversations lately, and we’ll dive in during our next #ILAchat on Thursday, July 11, at 8:00 p.m. ET, which focuses on the topic: What Research Says About Phonics.

    Guests for this Thursday’s chat include

    • Darl Kiernan, the pre-K–3 regional literacy facilitator with Nevada’s Northwest Regional Professional Development Program. Over her 24 years in education, she has served as a teacher, coach, and leader in professional learning. Her research interests include word study and vocabulary development. 
    • Jasmine Lane, an early-career high school teacher in Minnesota. Through ResearchED, a growing, grassroots, and teacher-led movement, she advocates for evidence-informed instructional approaches and strategies in the classroom. This November, she will be on a panel about reading instruction at the ResearchEd Philadelphia 2019 event moderated by Emily Hanford. She blogs at jasmineteaches.wordpress.com.
    • Karen Vaites, a K–12 education entrepreneur passionate about education research and bridging research to practice. Vaites most recently served as chief evangelist, community development officer, and chief strategy officer for Open Up Resources, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting instructional equity. She blogs at eduvaites.org.

    Follow #ILAchat and @ILAToday this Thursday to join the conversation with Kiernan, Lane, Vaites, and ILA about phonics instruction and what role it should play in early literacy education.

    Colleen Patrice Clark is the editor of Literacy Today, ILA’s member magazine.

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    Get to Know ILA's Incoming Vice President and Board Members-at-Large

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Jul 04, 2019
    In a recent blog series, we spoke with our incoming Vice President and Board members-at-large about their vision for the future of ILA, the experience they bring to the role, and what they hope to accomplish during their term. 

    Get to Know Incoming Vice President Stephen Peters
    Get to Know New Board Member-at-Large Kia Brown-Dudley
    Get to Know New Board Member-at-Large Rachael Gabriel
    Get to Know New Board Member-at-Large Laurie Sharp

    Alina O'Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily. 
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    ILA Creates Framework for Crafting a Learning Culture

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | Jul 03, 2019
    june-llb

    The lead learners and chief architects of culture and instructional programs at their schools, principals are uniquely positioned to promote equitable practices that nurture students’ self-efficacy and academic growth, according to ILA’s latest brief, Principals as Literacy Leaders.

    ILA presents a framework composed of three influences—challenge, clarity, and feedback—that are essential ingredients in a high-quality instructional program.

    • Challenge: When teachers provide students with challenging activities, students grow their capacities for learning, problem solving, and overcoming difficulties. These students feel a sense of accomplishment and are willing to try new things.
    • Clarity: When lessons are grounded in relevance—or an understanding of how the learning might connect to a larger purpose—students are more likely to “become attached to a learning goal and engage meaningfully in class activities and discussions.”
    • Feedback: Students who receive and act on feedback learn to monitor their own progress and identify gaps between what they currently understand and what needs to be learned next, instilling a strong sense of autonomy.

    Reform efforts are most effective when principals build the capacities of staff to work collaboratively toward a shared vision, says ILA.   

    “For so long, schools have maintained a hierarchical structure, in which one person—the principal—exercises exclusive decision-making power,” says ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “We hope to see more schools move away from traditional siloed, disconnected efforts and embrace a more cohesive approach to school leadership centered on a strong partnership between principals and teachers/classrooms.”

    This framework, coupled with a commitment to collaborative leadership, can help to bridge the academic divide and level the playing field for students, says ILA. The brief ends with tangible next steps for fostering collective action.

    Access the full brief here.

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

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