International Literacy Association

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International Literacy Association
HeadquartersUnited States Newark, Delaware, United States
Region served
Bernadette Dwyer

The International Literacy Association (ILA), formerly the International Reading Association (IRA), is an international global advocacy and member professional organization that was created in 1956 to improve reading instruction, facilitate dialogue about research on reading, and encourage the habit of reading.[1]

The organization, whose headquarters are in Newark, Delaware, United States, has a network of more than 3000,000 literacy educators, researchers, and experts members across 146 countries[2], and more than 1,250 councils and affiliates worldwide. Membership fees range from US$39 to US$54, plus costs for optional journal subscriptions. Discounted subscription rates are available for residents of developing economies.[3] The current ILA President of the Board is Bernadette Dwyer. She was Vice President of the ILA Board of Directors between 2017 and 2018. The incoming President of the ILA Board of Directors, Kathy N. Headley, will assume the role July 1, 2019.[4]


ILA officially ended its book publishing program June 30, 2018. However, the Association continues to publish journals, its membership magazine, literacy briefs, and other literacy-focused texts.

ILA publishes three academic journals:

Reading Online, an e-journal, sponsored by the organization, was retired in 2005.[9]

Literacy Today[5] (formerly titled Reading Today), ILA’s membership magazine, was published from 1983 to 2011 as a bimonthly membership newspaper. From the 2011 August/September issue forward, the publication was split into two parts: a bimonthly print magazine and an interactive digital e-zine.

ILA regularly publishes position statements and literacy briefs [6]that advance thought leadership for the literacy profession and shaping sound public policy on education.

Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017[edit]

ILA champions rigorous research as the foundation for literacy leadership and as such developed research-based standards for preparing and certifying literacy professionals: Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017).[7]

Annual Conference[edit]

ILA hosts an annual professional development conference for educators, from classroom teachers and librarians to specialized literacy professionals, administrators, and principals. The ILA 2019 Conference will be held in New Orleans, October 10–13. This year’s theme is Creating a Culture of Literacy.

ILA 2019 has three distinct programs. Attendees can register for all of these events or for each individually:

  • Institute Day (October 10)—one full day of intense, focused learning
  • Core Conference (October 11–12)—over 300 sessions, panels, and workshops
  • Children’s Literature Day (October 13)—a full-day celebration of children’s books celebration of children’s books and authors for educators, librarians, and children's literature enthusiasts.

Children's Rights to Read[edit]

During Children’s Literature Day at the ILA 2018 Conference, then President of the ILA Board Bernadette Dwyer launched ILA’s Children’s Rights to Read campaign[8], a yearlong advocacy developed to draw attention to the literacy needs of children all around the globe. ILA identifies the 10 inalienable rights as follows:

  1. Children have the basic human right to read.
  2. Children have the right to access texts in print and digital formats.
  3. Children have the right to choose what they read.
  4. Children have the right to read texts that mirror their experiences and languages, provide windows into the lives of others, and open doors into our diverse world.
  5. Children have the right to read for pleasure.
  6. Children have the right to supportive reading environments with knowledgeable literacy partners.
  7. Children have the right to extended time set aside for reading.
  8. Children have the right to share what they learn through reading by collaborating with others locally and globally.
  9. Children have the right to read as a springboard for other forms of communication, such as writing, speaking, and visually representing.
  10. Children have the right to benefit from the financial and material resources of governments, agencies, and organizations that support reading and reading instruction.

ILA created supporting documents that explore why these rights were chosen[9]; how educators, policymakers, and families and caretakers can advocate for these rights[10]; and a resolution to adopt[11] these rights for school and district administrators.

Special Interest Groups[edit]

ILA has over 20 special interest groups for members:[12]

  • Balanced Literacy Instruction
  • Canadian SIG on Literacy
  • Children's Literature and Reading
  • College Literacy and Learning
  • Concern for Affect in Reading Education (CARE)
  • Content Area Reading
  • Disabled Reader
  • District Literacy Leadership (DiLL)
  • Foundational Reading Skills
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • IRA/Rotary International Partnerships
  • Language Experience: Literacy Across the Disciplines
  • Leadership Educ. & Dev. for Educators in Reading (LEADER)
  • Literacy and Social Responsibility
  • Literacy Development in Young Children
  • Mastery Learning
  • Organization of Teacher Educators in Literacy
  • Professors of Literacy and Teacher Education (PLTE)
  • Readability
  • Reading for Gifted and Creative Students
  • Secondary Reading Interest Group of ILA
  • Specialized Literacy Professionals
  • Teaching as a Researching Profession
  • Technology in Literacy Education

Awards and Grants[edit]

ILA offers a number of awards and grants for educators, researchers, and authors.[13]

  • Advocacy Award
  • Award of Excellence
  • Celebrate Literacy Award
  • Chapter Achievement Awards
  • Children's and Young Adults' Book Award
  • Constance McCullough International Research Grant
  • Corwin Literacy Leader Award presented by ILA
  • Diane Lapp & James Flood Professional Collaborator Award
  • Dina Feitelson Research Award
  • Elva Knight Research Grant
  • Erwin Zolt Digital Literacy Game Changer Award
  • Exemplary Reading Program Award
  • Helen M. Robinson Grant
  • Honor Award
  • Jeanne S. Chall Research Fellowship
  • Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award
  • Leaders Inspiring Readers Award
  • Local Community Service Award
  • Maryann Manning Special Service Award
  • Nila Banton Smith Teacher as Researcher Grant
  • Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Grant
  • Steven A. Stahl Research Grant
  • Timothy & Cynthia Shanahan Outstanding Dissertation Award
  • William S. Gray Citation of Merit


The ILA has been recognized by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) since 1978; the ILA was reclassified to have Consultative Status with UNESCO in 1996 and continues to hold this status.[14]

Formerly known as the USA TODAY Charitable Foundation (USATCF), the Foundation for Impact on Literacy and Learning[15] is a 501(c)(3) that became a supporting organization to ILA in June 2015.


  1. ^ "Our Story". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  2. ^ "About Us & Mission | International Literacy Association". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  3. ^ "Join ILA". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Literacy Today, May/June 2019". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  6. ^ "Position Statements | International Literacy Association". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  7. ^ "Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  8. ^ "Support Children's #RightsToRead". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  9. ^ "The Case for Children's Rights to Read" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Advocating for Children's Rights to Read" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Resolution to Adopt Children's Rights to Read" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Special Interest Groups | International Literacy Association". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  13. ^ "Awards & Grants | International Literacy Association". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  14. ^ "IRA/UNESCO". Retrieved 2013-03-25.
  15. ^ "(no title)". Retrieved 2019-06-17.

External links[edit]