Saturday, January 14, 2017

2017 What's Hot in Literacy?

The International Literacy Association releases the results of a annual survey of literacy leaders from 89 countries and territories. You can find more information about the survey on the ILA website.

The two key findings that stood out most for me were Early Literacy and Teacher Professional Learning and Development. According to the survey, early literacy is both hot and important. The respondents found it extremely important, but it was only a hot topic for 54% of the people surveyed. I can see similarities in our province. We know early literacy is very important, but it doesn't seem to get the attention it deserves from government.  Some of our communities have excellent programs for preschool children, but families have to take advantage of the opportunity to make use of them. As we approach Family Literacy Day on January 27th, think about how you can support early literacy in your community.

Teacher professional learning and development is extremely important according to the survey, but it was only rated as 47% hot. Our reading councils, like most educators, are very cognizant of the "one-shot" workshop woes, but dollars are scarce for longer term training sessions.  We know administrators must carefully consider what PD to support.  The move to Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) is an effort to improve our professional practice through collaborative learning. Don't miss the opportunity to connect with other literacy leaders at the 4th Adolescent Literacy Summit on April 12-13 in Winnipeg. Check out the Summit website for more information.

Parent engagement and access to books and content had the largest gap between what's hot and what's important. Are these topics you or your colleagues are talking about? How do we ensure our students have access to literacy materials? Are there Free Little Libraries (or some form of them) in your community? Does your school library provide access for families over the summer? What has your school done to make literacy connections with parents? Have you tried a whole school novel, one that all students and parents read?

The survey data provides material for some interesting conversations. Share your ideas!

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