Building a Community of Literacy Educators

The BC Literacy Council of the International Reading Association (BCLCIRA), commonly known as ReadingBC, has long been committed to improving student engagement in books and proficiency in literacy.  Members read journals such as The Reading Teacher, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, attend conferences and get together to discuss things they have tried in their classrooms and communities and the things they’d like to try.  Coming together with people with like minds is an energizing experience and lends itself to reflecting on practices that are tried and true and substantiated with research in the field.  Members have readily embraced  The International Literacy Association’s quest to start a worldwide Literacy Movement.

image For the 2015-2016 year, Reading BC (BCLCIRA) is trying to broaden participation and the diversity of ways that literacy leaders in British Columbia can engage with other literacy educators both in person and online.

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While it is increasingly difficult to organize and facilitate larger scale meetings due to high costs and increasing demands on our time, the ReadingBC executive committee has come up with some exciting opportunities to develop a variety of possibilities to engage in professional development and engage in community focused projects to advocate for literacy.

  • Join a ReadingBC Book Club.  Choose one of the books selected by members.  Form a book club with peers.
  • Participate in the discussion about a Book Club selection with colleagues via a TWITTERCHAT.
  • Read Spirals of Inquiry (Judy Halbert & Linda Kaser) and decide on an inquiry question to pursue with a group of colleagues.
  • Form a ReadingBC Community action focus to encourage children to engage in literacy activities or educate parents.
  • Form a Literacy Committee if you have a well established group wanting to commit to regular professional development and advocacy in your area.

Check out the link below for ideas BCLCILA Projects.final (3) copy and opportunities to join the International Literacy Association .  If you are a member of the International Literacy Association and live in British Columbia, you currently have a free membership to the provincial chapter, BCLCIRA / ReadingBC.  We have designated funding to help members get started from a grant from the Lower Mainland Council of The International Association (LOMCIRA), a local chapter before it went into dormancy.  Please check out the opportunities and send applications for funding or questions to the provincial coordinator at carriefroese@gmail.com or any of the other contacts on the website.

Hopefully this will forge some of the connections to continue building a community of literacy learners in British Columbia, and perhaps beyond.

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The Business of Being a Literacy Leader

International Reading Association members have now had a chance to digest (or peruse) their journal or online Sept/Oct subscriptions. Marie Craig Post references significant changes in the International Reading Association and reports the questions/concerns raised at the leadership conference (The Business of Leading) that I was attending with 114 other International Reading Association leaders across 38 other provinces/states this summer in Florida. Many of these changes in demographics of IRA members and different styles of professional engagement, you are seeing unfold in your own communities. For some of you, the most significant changes will be outlined during the International Reading Association Conference in St. Louis from July 17-20, 2015 as the IRA strives to keep up with the pace of change. Hopefully moving the conference to summer and removing Teacher on Call costs from the equation, will assist more IRA members in attending the 60th Anniversary IRA 2015 Conference. Mark the date and start planning to get there. It will be worth it!

As the BC Provincial Coordinator of the International Reading Association, I work with IRA members in the province to make connections with head office and other councils.  I encourage you to visit the International Reading Association Head Office website in order to learn more about the organization and become an IRA member.  The IRA offers several Grants and Awards to IRA members.  The deadline has been extended to January 15, 2015.  Members in British Columbia, go to ReadingBC to learn more about opportunities for IRA members to support literacy in our province.