Style Guide


IBBY = International Board on Books for Young People

ID = identification

IDEA = Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (note lowercase w; this follows the style of official name)

identification = ID

Abbreviation of the Latin id est, meaning "that is." This abbreviation requires two periods and a comma after the second period. It should not be italicized or underlined. As a conjunctive adverb it is sometimes preceded by a semicolon, and sometimes by a comma (see conjunctive adverbs). Often confused with e.g., (See e.g.,). As is the case with similar Latin abbreviations, i.e., should be used only in parenthetical material. In regular text, use the English translation, "that is" (APA 6th, 4.26).

IEP = Individualized Education Program (or Plan, outside the U.S.)

IERI = Interagency Education Research Initiative


ILA 2019 Board Election
Use full term upon first mention. ILA Election may be used in subsequent mentions.

ILA Choices

ILA conference

  • On first reference: the International Literacy Association 2019 Conference, after: the ILA 2019 Conference or ILA 2019
  • Only capitalized when used as part of the proper name: "I can't wait to attend the ILA 2019 Conference; I always come to ILA's conference."
  • "annual," "annually," and "yearly" may be used to describe conference occurrence, but are not part of the official conference name.
  • For any ILA 2019 Conference-specific questions, please consult the ILA 2019 Style Sheet.

ILA Journals Hub
Use full name on first reference and Hub thereafter.


ILA 30 Under 30
ILA 30 Under 30 on first reference and 30 Under 30 thereafter

ILC = International Leadership Conference

Illinois Reading Council = IRC

illiterate (See bias-free usage)
Use this term with caution. It connotes a complete inability to read that is rare in developed countries. Authors or editors who ignore this may draw scolding letters from readers. "Functional illiteracy" is dangerously vague. "Low literacy" or "problems with literacy" are more acceptable and likely more accurate descriptions. UNESCO materials still refer to illiterates; for societies lacking universal education the term may be more accurate. Outside of UNESCO-derived materials, it may be better to describe exactly a particular person's difficulties with literacy than to label that person illiterate.

illustrator names in reference/literature cited lists
ILA reference style conforms to APA 6th style in excluding illustrator names from individual entries in a reference list or literature cited list.

IM (n.) = instant message

IMing (v.; use instant messaging instead)

In recent years the use of impact as a verb has increased dramatically, usually in the context of business- or government-related jargon. Although W-MDEU defends this usage as "standard and reasonably well established," most ILA readers find it questionable at best. ILA writers and editors should avoid using impact as a verb. Instead, use affect, influence, have an impact on, or a similar, more standard construction.

imply / implication
To imply is to send a message that is not explicitly stated but may be assumed from the context, the words that are used, and the tone or manner of their delivery. An implication is a message that is not explicitly stated but is conveyed by the context, word choice, and tone of the statement.
Example: This is the brand that doctors recommend most. (Implies that this brand is best.)

important, more important, most important (not more importantly, etc.)

import into

import ratio

in-class (hyphenate as adjective preceding the noun it modifies)


  1. Follow this verb with a selected group, never a complete listing. The sentence, "My favorite authors include Shakespeare, Dickens, and Poe" implies that you have other favorites that you have not named. If these three are your only favorite authors, you should say, "My favorite authors are Shakespeare, Dickens, and Poe." Likewise, you should not say, "My household includes a wife, husband, two children, and a Labrador retriever" unless there is at least one additional household member who is not mentioned in the sentence. If your list is "all-inclusive," it would be better to say, "My household comprises a wife, husband, two children, and a Labrador retriever."
  2. Do not insert a colon (or any other punctuation) between include and the example or examples it is introducing
    (see colon).

inclusive language

  1. Avoid terms and ideas that give unfair preference to one type of person or that disparage others, and avoid stereotypes based on sex, race, or other characteristics (see bias-free usage). Examples: the assumption that a nurse must be female, that a police officer must be a male, or that a person's ethnic or racial background will predispose that person to particular values, attitudes, or abilities
  2. Do not use "he" when a person of either sex is meant. The easiest way to avoid this is to use plurals (Not, "A child reads best when he can read what he likes "; instead, use "Children read best when they can read what they like." When just one person is meant, use "he or she" or "she or he." Do not use "she" to replace "he." Do not alternate the two pronouns. Do not use "s/he" or other forms using slashes.
  3. Remember that the International Literacy Association has members around the world, and avoid such errors as referring to "our country" when the United States is meant.

The literal meaning of this word is "not believable" or "beyond belief." A careful writer or editor will not use this adjective to describe something that he or she knows to be true. As a figure of speech, incredible has been badly overused—to the point that it has become a cliche, an empty, almost meaningless expression. Choose a more precise term, like astonishing or amazing.

in-depth (hyphenated as adjective preceding noun; otherwise in depth)

Independent School District = ISD


indigenous peoples
Whenever possible, use the name of the particular nation or group, such as Cherokee, Inuit, or Australian Aborigines. If the name is not widely familiar—"Athabascan," for example—explain it. For larger groups or more general references, the terms indigenous people and native people are less culturally loaded and probably more accurate than American Indians, aboriginal tribes, Native Americans, and similar terms. Capitalize Indigenous when used interchangeably with Native American. Canada refers to its indigenous peoples as First Nations.

Individualized Education Program = IEP (Program, not Plan, is the language used in the IDEA document; however, in areas outside the United States such as the United Kingdom and Canada, this document is called an Individualized Education Plan.)

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act = IDEA

infer / inference
To infer is to derive a meaning from a statement in which that meaning is not explicitly stated but may be gathered from such clues as context, word choice, and tone. An inference is a meaning that is not explicitly stated but may be gathered from the context, word choice, and tone of a statement.
Example: She said she couldn't go out with me tonight because she had to water her cactus. (I infer that she doesn't want to go out with me.)

Information Technology = IT


in-house (adv. or adj.; this compound is hyphenated wherever it appears)

Although many style guides (e.g., APA 6th, 6.27; CMS 17th, 10.12) call for inserting hard (i.e., nonbreaking) spaces between two or more grouped initials, ILA style calls for such initials to be closed. Thus "T.S. Eliot was reading about J.E.B. Stuart" (not T. S. Eliot, J. E. B. Stuart).


inner-city (as adjective; noun is inner city)

in-school literacy



instant message = IM

Capitalize only as part of a full formal name: ILA Institute on Adolescent Literature. Lowercase in all other cases: an institute, the institute, a series of institutes.

Interagency Education Research Initiative = IERI



intermediate-grade (or -level)

international address standards

International Board on Books for Young People = IBBY

International Leadership Conference = ILC

international perspective
International Literacy Association authors and editors should bear in mind that ILA materials have an international audience. References to "our government," and "this nation" should be changed to "the U.S. government" and "the United States." Regional names should also be identified: not "a city in the South," but "a city in the southern United States."

internet (Style Guide Committee voted July 2017 to adopt lowercase internet in following with Chicago Manual of Style 17th)

Internet Service Provider = ISP



inter-rater reliability




introduction / Introduction
Capitalize introduction if the word is used as the name of a part of a specific book (e.g., "In his Introduction to the third edition of The Elements of Style, E.B. White mused on the history of his involvement with the project"). Otherwise, lowercase (e.g., "E.B. White never would have contributed an introduction to a book as carelessly written as this.") See book parts or sections for further discussion.

Iowa Test of Basic Skills = ITBS


IRA / the IRA

  1. When referring to our organization's former name, avoid using "the IRA" to prevent confusion with the Irish Republican Army.
  2. Use of "IRA" in running text is acceptable after the organization's former name has been spelled out and where an acronym is appropriate.

ILA mailing addresses

IRC = Illinois Reading Council

ISD = Independent School District

ISP = Internet Service Provider

IT = information technology


and titles
Titles of long works (books, journals, newspapers, monographs) are printed in italics.

According to CMS 17th, 8.2:
"Quoted titles of book series and editions are capitalized but not italicized. The words series and edition are capitalized only if part of the title."

and underlining
Typewriters traditionally cannot print italics; instead, typewritten manuscripts used underlining to indicate words that the typesetter should set in italic type. With the advent of word processors, authors and editors can also use italics. Whoever marks up copy for typesetting should indicate clearly which words should be set in italics, and which underlined.

words-as-words, letters-as-letters
In text copy, italics are used to indicate a word being used as a word or a letter being used as a letter. Thus, "Kevin is clearly a dispirited child. The word can't appears frequently in his writing." "How many i's are in Mississippi?"

for emphasis (CMS 17th, 7.50)
Use italics sparingly to emphasize a particular word or phrase in text. Thus, "That a successful person always finds time to read is no mystery; the mystery is how anyone could ever hope to be successful without reading."

ITBS = Iowa Test of Basic Skills

it's / its
The form with the apostrophe is not the possessive. It's actually a contraction of it is. A personal pronoun never needs an apostrophe to form its possessive. It forms its possessive without an apostrophe.