Transforming Lives Through Literacy

The International Reading Association, like many organizations, is experiencing challenges due to retirement of baby boomers, the downturn in many economies, and competing interests for the time of literacy educators.  Although the name is changing to The International Literacy Association, reading remains at the core of the mission and purpose.  The broader term “literacy” has the advantage of being less reductive and reflects the reality that literacy professionals deal with a cluster of skills that also include speaking, listening, writing, and presenting.

The Mission

The mission of the International Reading Association is to promote reading by continuously advancing the quality of literacy instruction and research worldwide.

The Goals

Professional Development

  • Enhance the professional development of reading educators worldwide
  • Organize and support IRA Councils and Affiliates as networks of reading educators
  • Promote a broad view of literacy
  • Help educators to improve the quality of literacy instruction through publications and conferences
  • Prepare educators to assume different roles as reading professionals
  • Provide leadership in the continuously changing nature of reading in a digital age

Advocacy

Advocate for research, policy, and practices that support the best interests of all learners and reading professionals

  • Foster life-long literacy habits
  • Promote high quality teacher and student learning to improve reading instruction
  • Keep policy makers informed about IRA’s positions
  • Develop policy and position statements
  • Provide members with background information and resources
  • Collaborate with national and international policy makers

Partnership

  • Establish and strengthen national and international alliances with a wide range of organizations
  • Work with governmental, nongovernmental, and community agencies; businesses, industries, and donors
  • Develop and support IRA councils and affiliates around the world
  • Collaborate with a range of partners on long-term efforts to improve literacy

The British Columbia Literacy Council of IRA (BCLCIRA, more commonly known as Readingbc) has just passed a slate of dedicated International Reading Association members to carry on the work in British Columbia from the ranks of public schools, private schools and retired teachers.  We’re particularly pleased to welcome Mike Bowden, to bring the voice of teachers in Central BC to our provincial council.  The latest coup of this IRA council has been to secure the commitment of Kristen Ziemke, co-author of Connecting Comprehension & Technology:  Adapt and Extend Toolkit Practices to present at our fall conference on Oct. 24th, 2014 – provincial professional development day in British Columbia.  Her presentation & book, co-authored by Stephanie Harvey, Anne Goudvis and Katie Muhtaris, was very well received at the IRA AGM this past May.

In my capacity as provincial coordinator, I will be attending an intensive multi-day program in Tampa from July 10-13, which is designed to provide Council Leaders with training in the areas of governance, finance, advocacy and strategic planning.

 

LOMCIRA – The Chance for a Fresh Approach

LOMCIRA has always been synonymous with “committed literacy educators”.  Over the years, many people have come together to talk books (for old and young), kids and classroom environments.  Many of you may have attended meetings at Schou in Burnaby, sharing sessions at VSB schools or conferences in hotels.  This past year, LOMCIRA has gone into dormancy.  Although there are still a wealth of committed literacy educators in the Lower Mainland, a group of people have not stepped into the existing International Reading Association group structure.

A unique opportunity exists for a group of like-minded individuals to step forward and create a new literacy group that meshes with their needs and goals.  In the past, LOMCIRA took on large projects and invited researchers and published authors to stimulate discussion about applications of research into the classroom.  A new group may decide to meet periodically throughout the year to discuss the latest ReadWriteThink ideas or invite an author to talk about their writing process.

BC Literacy Council members could also be invited to support the group and share their wealth of knowledge.  In my capacity as provincial coordinator, I’d be more than happy to work with International Reading Association members to familiarize them with the opportunities in the IRA or ways to organize sharing sessions or meetings.  Certainly all of us can tell you about the amazing opportunity of going the IRA Annual General Meetings like the one coming up in New Orleans.  I presented with The Canadian contingent at an AGM in New Orleans.  The Jazz Festival, the food, especially the beignes were as amazing as participating in symposiums and meetings with the people have written the books we love to discuss.

Please let me know if you would be willing to work with educators in the Lower Mainland in meeting the goals of bringing current research and quality literature into our classrooms.