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  • ResearchAddress_ILA9
    • Conferences & Events

    Proven Strategies for Fostering a Classroom of Enthusiastic Writers

    ILA STAFF
     | Oct 29, 2019

    Writing is a crucial skill to develop in our young learners. Regardless of the discipline they’ll eventually grow into, writing will inevitably be involved.

    Nowadays, even writing proper emails is considered an important skill to learn. Therefore, helping young writers develop a strong foundation that will support a continual growth of their writing skills throughout their educational career is more important now than ever. The problem is, many students are averse to writing. Some struggle to come up with ideas to write about, whereas others just outright dislike it. 

    ResearchAddressCrowd_ILA19

    Steve Graham, ILA member and the Warner Professor in the Division of Leadership and Innovation in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State  University, delivered the Research Address at ILA’s 2019 Conference in New Orleans titled, “The Dos and Don’ts of Writing Instruction.” Graham’s address covered the importance of encouraging students to write for multiple purposes, teaching them the necessary writing and process skills, and providing a stimulating writing space for free expression. A summary of Graham’s Research Address will be available in ILA’s November/December issue of Literacy Today

    Below are effective resources for achieving Graham’s “Dos” of writing instruction and encouraging students to love writing in your classroom:

    Writing and reading skills have been scientifically proven to go hand in hand; therefore, developing skilled writers also creates strong readers. With these skills, young learners will be able to tackle any writing and reading assignments that come their way as they advance as students.

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  • ThisWeek-10-22-2019-2_140x140
    • Conferences & Events
    • ILA News

    ILA 2020: Submissions for Proposals Now Open

    By ILA Staff
     | Oct 22, 2019

    With ILA 2019 in the rearview mirror, the International Literacy Association invites educators and researchers to keep the critical conversations going by submitting proposals for ILA 2020 in Columbus, OH, October 15–18, 2020.

    ILA 2020 is an ideal forum for literacy professionals to share their knowledge, research, and best practices. The selected educational programming is integral to the event’s success.

    “We’re very excited to open submissions for ILA 2020, especially after the conversations and ideas that came to life at ILA 2019,” says Becky Fetterolf, director of program content and engagement. “This is a fantastic opportunity to share ideas among the literacy community and we look forward to building the program.”

    Thinking about submitting your proposal? Here are some tips to consider:

    • As you begin writing your proposal, read carefully the Proposal Submission Guidelines and the scoring rubric. Reviewers use this rubric for scoring, so be aware of expectations before you submit.
    • Ground your proposal in research and connect it to practice with clear takeaways. Research is the core of ILA’s work, and attendees expect evidence-based information that they can apply in their work.
    • Give your proposals a creative—but concise—title. If accepted, your title will be what attendees see first; give them something that catches their attention.
    • If you’re new to presenting, consider submitting a poster session. Poster sessions give you a chance to share the work you’re doing through a poster display. Your poster display will give you the opportunity to connect with attendees through more intimate conversations.
    • Consider a nontraditional presentation option: Open space sessions will be held in salons along the main hallway that can accommodate innovative content and presentation formats. These sessions are organized around six categories that embody the theme for ILA 2020—Shaping the Future of Literacy: 2020 Vision.
    • Ask a peer or colleague to review your proposal before you finalize your submission to answer these questions: Is your proposed title engaging and attractive to your prospective audience? Does your cited research have substantial connection to your presentation? Is it clear what an attendee will learn from your session? Is your proposal free of typos and grammatical errors?
    • Be on time. Plan to complete and finalize your proposal at least a week early (you can still go back and edit up to the deadline date). If your proposal is not finalized by the deadline, it will not be reviewed.

    Submissions for reviewed proposals are open through Monday, December 9, 2019. All reviewed proposals must be submitted electronically via the ILA 2020 proposal submission site. For questions about submitting a proposal, please email conferenceproposals@reading.org.

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  • ThisWeek-10-22-2019-1_140x140
    • Panel
    • Conferences & Events

    What Research Really Says About Teaching Reading (Even Beyond ILA 2019)

    By ILA Staff
     | Oct 22, 2019

    The sound of chatter filled the room as teachers, educators, and researchers made their way into the theater on the second day of ILA 2019. With coffee in hand, the crowd eagerly awaited the beginning of the newly added panel, What Research Really Says About Teaching Reading—and Why That Still Matters.

    Abiding the Rules of the Road

    David Pearson took the stage shortly after the clock struck 7:00 a.m. From the start of his presentation, Pearson gave the packed room a reminder: He’s all for research-based practice, but if we’re going to go down that road, let’s make sure we have a road map and follow the rules of the road.

    Delving into research-based practice, Pearson went on to share his version of the rules of the road:

    Rule #1: Policymakers have to read beyond the headline (or have a reader on staff).

    Pearson stressed that readers looking at the headline but not taking it a step further by reading all the content is problematic. Headlines can leave out a lot of the details, nuances, and truth.

    Rule #2: When research is applied, it ought to be applied in an even-handed way.

    No cherry picking. You must look at all research, not just the bits that fit your biases. This also includes equity among students and teachers, said Pearson.

    Rule #3: It’s our moral and ethical obligation to use the best evidence we can muster for making policy decisions of consequence.

    Pearson explained that if we applied the best available evidence standard we would not have so many phonics programs for older students, would not mandate percentages of decodable text, and would still have bilingual education programs in California, Arizona, and Massachusetts.

    Rule #4: When you invoke the mantle of science, you have to accept the full portfolio of methods scientists use.

    “When you invite the research family to the policy table, you have to invite them all, even the cousins you’d rather not talk to,” said Pearson, who received laughs from the crowd.

    Rule #5: Build your case on your evidence, not on the back of a straw person.

    To this point, Pearson said that often educators try to advance the practice they want to promote by asserting that the problem is that no one is currently doing what they advocate. In reality, there is little evidence to warrant the claim that no one is doing it.

    Last, Rule #6: You have to talk to others in the field who you don’t share basic assumptions about how to do research or what the research says.

    According to Pearson, you must stay at the table and cut through the rhetoric. While individuals tend to stay with people who are like them, this approach is bad for educational policy and a problem for society today.


    Building a Future of Strong Readers

    As the engaged crowd digested Pearson’s road map, he moved the program into the panel format featuring renowned literacy experts Nell K. Duke, Sonia Cabell, and Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon.

    The group began the panel by discussing what research tells us about teaching and facilitating in the early years. According to Cabell, children start developing the skills they need for later literacy success from birth. Preschool teachers can help facilitate this at a young age by drawing children’s attention to print while they’re reading out loud, playing phonological games, and practice writing in settings that inspire curiosity.

    “Children must develop their language skills as early as possible,” said Cabell, “By the end of kindergarten children’s language skills start to stabilize. They grow in their skills, but really they are in the same place as their peers.”

    Early on, the code-related skills predict achievement well in kindergarten and first grade. But by the time students get to third grade, it’s the early oral language where the emphasis is on meaning that has the better predicting value predicting later reading achievement, added Pearson.

    Addressing the Scripted Curriculum Conundrum

    Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon shifted the conversation to the pros and cons of scripted curriculum. In research, McMillon found that when preservice and inexperienced teachers get into the classroom, they are more comfortable when they’re given direction on what to say and do. Also, depending on how the scripted program is presented, it can increase engagement among students. However, she moved to explained how the cons of scripted curriculum can cost both educators and students. 

    “If it’s a scripted program, my concern is that students who may not get the kind of language interaction at home, and often times that’s students who are socioeconomically impoverished, may not get that in the classroom,” McMillon said. “Then when would it happen? I’m concerned that the interaction [with scripted programs] isn’t there.”

    It wouldn’t be professionally responsible for any of us to recommend using scripted programs with no responsiveness to children in front of us. It’s about how much guidance you’re putting into the program, Duke added.

    Cabell joined the discussion by adding that some of the goal for scripted programs is to teach teachers how to teach a topic, therefore they may be a benefit to many.

    Exploring Texts for Beginning Readers

    Pearson turned to Duke to move the conversation to texts for beginning readers.

    “The weight of the evidence suggests that decodability is an important factor in texts for beginning readers,” Duke says. “That degree to which the texts are decodable does matter for children and for their development. More decodable texts foster literacy development better, even though it’s not what some people want to hear.”

    There is also evidence that suggests other factors in the text that are important: The diversity of genres represented, natural language, and the degree the text is engaging the kids, Duke continued. In her opinion, the most promising work in the area is what is currently is referred to as multiple criteria texts, which focus decodability but do not stop there. She recommends educators learn more at TextProject.org.

    Tackling Reading Comprehension

    There is a large body of research supporting the explicit teaching of comprehension strategies using a gradual release of responsibility model, said Duke. There’s no doubt about its importance.

    “It’s as though because we think content knowledge building is so important, we’re just going to ignore three decades of research on comprehensive strategy instruction,” said Duke. “This isn’t a zero-sum game saying, ‘if you can’t attend to content, then you can’t teach comprehension strategies’ or ‘if you teach comprehension strategies, you must not be paying enough attention to vocabulary or morphology.’”

    There is also concern that the literacy field is usurping content instruction in school districts. Meaning, literacy is dominating the day with some programs having curricula addressing social studies and science standards. This leaves districts feeling as if teaching both subjects are optional. This is deeply problematic, said Duke. Literacy practitioners should be advocating for science and social studies instruction.

    “For too long, literacy has been a bully and pushed science and social studies off of the stage,” Pearson said in his final comments. “Literacy should be a buddy, not a bully, for science and social studies.”

    Though the panel came to a close, the critical conversations were just beginning. Attendees could be heard exiting the crowded auditorium debriefing the panel with fellow colleagues, while Twitter (referred to as “the wires” by Pearson) was buzzing using the hashtag #ILAresearch. Although ILA 2019 has come and gone, we look forward to educators and researchers continuing the conversation about what research really says about teaching reading.

    To watch the full panel, visit the ILA website.

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  • tweet_for_this_week_1_140x140
    • ILA News
    • Conferences & Events

    #ILA19, as Told in 40 Tweets

    BY ILA Staff
     | Oct 15, 2019

    The International Literacy Association (ILA) held the ILA 2019 Conference in New Orleans, LA, from October 10–13, 2019. Thousands of educators, teachers, and researchers descended on The Big Easy to hear from notable speakers, engage in important conversations, and mingle with their fellow colleagues from around the world.

    Throughout the three-day conference, attendees, both in person and virtually, flooded Twitter with conference quotes, photos, and discussion of literacy education using the hashtags #ILA19, #ILAequity, and #ILAresearch. Check out 40 tweets that captured the essence of this year’s conference.


    twitter-graphic-ila19-1https://twitter.com/rhenson80/status/1182096105175171073

    twitter-graphic-ila19-2https://twitter.com/librarypendley/status/1182630544665960448

    On October 10, ILA 2019 held Institute Day, which offered interactive, full-day courses that allowed educators to take a deep dive into literacy topics with leaders in the field.

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    https://twitter.com/SOConnorLA/status/1182359296128049153

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        https://twitter.com/colemanlah/status/1182307771678674944

    The Welcome to ILA 2019 Event on Thursday night gave attendees the opportunity to enjoy pre-Core Conference festivities with countless exhibitors, treats, activities, and even a live New Orleans band to kick off the conference.

    twitter-graphic-ila19-5https://twitter.com/2018LATOY/status/1183244651266007041

    twitter-graphic-ila19-6

    The excitement continued into Day 2 as Core Conference attendees arrived at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center bright and early to hear keynotes Chelsea Clinton, Hamish Brewer, Pedro A. Noguera, and Renèe Watson.

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    https://twitter.com/EdnaAnafi/status/1182651011053305857

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    https://twitter.com/AmandaRapstad/status/1182655206745657344


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    https://twitter.com/FauquierSEAC/status/1182661610478981121

    twitter-graphic-ila19-10

    https://twitter.com/M_Panozzo/status/1182665468819267586


    twitter-graphic-ila19-11

    https://twitter.com/sjimenez99/status/1182666673234612226

    After his post-General Session book signing, Dr. Noguera led The Intersection of Literacy, Equity, and Social-Emotional Learning, offered as part of this year’s Equity in Education Program. Joining him was Jovanni Ramos, Justina Schlund, Kathleen Theodore, and Stephanie K. Siddens, all of whom drew on data and research to illustrate the role social-emotional learning plays in the literacy classroom.

    twitter-graphic-ila19-12

    https://twitter.com/clairemriddell/status/1182690411384655872

    twitter-graphic-ila19-13

    https://twitter.com/geralddessus/status/1182695529337315328

    The first day of the Core Conference also welcomed Featured Speakers Dave Stuart and David Kirkland.

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    https://twitter.com/ATorresElias/status/1182728597628276737


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    https://twitter.com/LMuncherjee/status/1182753624004407296

    On Saturday, October 12, roughly 250 educators showed up ready to learn at 7:00 a.m. sharp. Why? To see P. David Pearson lead a critical conversation about evidence-based instruction.

    What Research Really Says About Teaching Reading—and Why That Still Matters also featured Nell K. Duke, Sonia Cabell, and Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon and attracted hundreds of additional viewers via livestream. It also generated request after request for additional programming and resources on the topic.

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    https://twitter.com/ShawnaCoppola/status/1182990843663269888


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    https://twitter.com/lyssareads/status/1182999416212508672

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    https://twitter.com/patjburke/status/1183013238662991873

    Later that morning, the Equity in Education Program continued with Integrating Social-Emotional Learning in the Literacy Classroom featuring Kimberly Eckert,  Gerald Dessus, Shawna Coppola, Tiana Silvas, and Tamera Slaughter.

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    https://twitter.com/triciaebarvia/status/1183070998201094146


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    https://twitter.com/dylanteut/status/1183066778257313794

    twitter-graphic-ila19-21https://twitter.com/DrMaryHoward/status/1183058000052916224

    Tricia Ebarvia and Donalyn Miller were Saturday’s Featured Speakers.

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    https://twitter.com/catydear/status/1183026952199950336

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    https://twitter.com/browngravy33/status/1183087058245558272

    Children’s Literature Day took place on Sunday, October 13. The full-day event for educators, librarians, and children's literature enthusiasts featured keynote addresses by celebrated authors, interactive break-out sessions, presentation of the ILA 2019 Children's and Young Adults' Book Awards, and the opportunity mingle with featured authors.

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    https://twitter.com/shannonl73/status/1183376775096799232


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    https://twitter.com/shrtsmrtbrwnwmn/status/1183385258789691393


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    https://twitter.com/whitney_larocca/status/1183442978616025091

    While thousands of educators joined ILA in New Orleans, hundreds of people across the world attended #LA19 virtually.

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    https://twitter.com/drdonvu/status/1182684584716070913


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    https://twitter.com/ShawnaCoppola/status/1183009672711868416


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    https://twitter.com/tenilleshade/status/1183370803200573442

    Throughout the conference, a new theme emerged that resonated with thousands of attendees: Tell and write stories so you can be heard.

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    https://twitter.com/Jacquelyn_R_B/status/1183428614928457733

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    https://twitter.com/kgfletchy/status/1183126550742519809

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    https://twitter.com/lzoroya/status/1182753760625545218


    The conference even gave rise to a new hashtag, “#ILATweachers,” which grew out of a workshop that took place Saturday morning.

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    https://twitter.com/AffinitoLit/status/1183033740433465344


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    https://twitter.com/PatriciaNewman/status/1183088690207350784


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    https://twitter.com/LoganBlock5/status/1183386372482195456

    While sessions and panels sparked creativity, ideas, and thought-provoking conversations among attendees, many memorable moments were captured outside of the meeting rooms.

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    https://twitter.com/triciaebarvia/status/1183147681327337476


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    https://twitter.com/maciekerbs/status/1182701751675314176


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    https://twitter.com/M_Panozzo/status/1182727525363048449


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    https://twitter.com/LoriOczkus/status/1182860077000220672

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    https://twitter.com/Antley_DWord/status/1183118004101492736

    #ILA19 may be over, but it’s never too early to start thinking about next year! Join us for ILA 2020, October 15-18, 2020 in Columbus, OH.

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  • OctILAChat
    • Professional Development
    • Blog Posts
    • News & Events
    • ILA Network

    #ILAchat: Making the Most of Networking Events

    By ILA Staff
     | Oct 01, 2019

    OctILAChat _GraphicsWith the ILA 2019 Conference quickly approaching, we’re reminded of the numerous opportunities to connect with our literacy education peers. From the Welcome to ILA 2019 Event to Literacy Night at Mardi Gras World, attendees will have ample opportunity to tell stories, discuss literacy topics, share ideas, and make lasting connections and friendships.

    To gear up for the conference, we will be discussing how to effectively network with colleagues and build your personal learning network (PLN) during our next #ILAchat on Thursday, October 3, at 8 p.m. ET: Making the Most of Networking Events. 

    Our special guests for this Thursday’s chat are three experts who will be at ILA 2019:

    • Danny Brassell, a professional speaker, author, and professor at California State University who has taught students ranging from preschoolers to rocket scientists. Using humor, music, and games in his highly acclaimed presentations, Brassell has motivated teachers around the world to create their own reading programs that nurture lifelong reading. Brassell is presenting at #ILA19 on instructional comprehension strategies and vocabulary strategies for all students.
    • Kia Brown-Dudley, an ILA Board member who serves as the director of Literacy and Development for The Education Partners, the global consultancy division of GEMS Education. Brown-Dudley partners with educators and leading organizations to create and deliver transformational curricula, rigorous instruction, and professional learning opportunities to improve student outcomes through deeper learning experiences.
    • Stephanie Affinito, a literacy teacher educator in the Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning at the University at Albany in New York. She has a deep love of literacy coaching and supporting teachers’ learning through technology. Affinito creates spaces for authentic teacher learning that build expertise, spark professional curiosity, and foster intentional reflection to reimagine teaching and learning for students. Affinito is presenting at #ILA19 on using Twitter in teacher education and boosting teachers’ reading and writing identities.

    Follow #ILAchat and @ILAToday at 8 p.m. ET this Thursday, October 3, to join the conversation with Brassell, Brown-Dudley, Affinito, and ILA as we discuss building your personal learning network, preparing for conference events, and the importance of in-person networking in the age of virtual PLNs.

    Visit our conference website for more information about ILA 2019.

    Read More
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