Early Childhood Education
International Reading Association (IRA)
The International Reading Association promotes high literacy levels by focusing on improvements in reading instruction, reading research and information, and the importance of a lifetime reading habit. Diverse reading professionals, including teachers, reading specialists, faculty, and researchers, are among the IRA’s 80,000 members. With councils and affiliates in a hundred countries, the International Reading Association network extends to 300,000 people worldwide.
The resources and activities of the International Reading Association further the following five goals:
• Professional Development to advance knowledge of the field by reading educators worldwide
• Advocacy for policy, practices, and research that improve instruction and promote the best interests of all learners and reading professionals
• Partnerships with national and international governments, nongovernmental organizations, community agencies, and business and industry to strengthen and support literacy efforts
• Research that informs the decisions made by professionals, policymakers, and the public
• Global Literacy Development that identifies and focuses leadership and resources on significant literacy issues worldwide
Advocacy and global outreach. Members seek influence in policy, curriculum, and education reform initiatives that affect literacy, reading, and reading instruction. IRA recommendations in these areas are disseminated through position statements. Government relation reports reflect advocacy by the legislative action team related to U.S. policy.
Global projects, like Pan-African Reading for All, encourage professional communication and collaboration across borders. Educators’ needs are met by region through international development committees. Teacher education and professional standards development are examples of IRA initiatives that increase awareness and recognition of reading professionals.
Awards and grants. IRA grants and awards honor teaching, service to the profession, research, media coverage, and writers and illustrators of children’s books. Grants support professional development, graduate studies, and action research. Some awards and grants are only available for international programs and achievement.
Councils and affiliates. IRA councils and affiliates facilitate direct and immediate access to educators. Through this network, IRA’s community extends to more than 300,000 reading professionals in hundred countries.
Meetings and events. The Association’s meetings and events include large and small conferences and gatherings across the globe. A weeklong annual convention, held each spring in a North American city, represents a premiere professional development opportunity. A one-day research conference precedes this meeting. World Congresses are held biennially, and the cosponsored Pan-African Conference is also a biennial event. National, regional, and state/provincial meetings occur throughout the year.
Publications. The Ira publishes more than one hundred print and nonprint resources, with twenty-five to thirty new titles added each year. The professional journals affiliated with IRA include the following:
• The Reading Teacher, directed toward preschool, primary, and elementary school educators
• Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, directed toward middle school, secondary, college, and adult educators
• Reading Research Quarterly for those interested in reading theory and research
• Lectura y Vida, a Spanish-language journal based in Latin America
• Reading Online, an electronic journal with a special focus on literacy and technology
• Thinking Classroom (also available in Russian, as Peremena), that focuses on the ways students acquire, create, question, and apply knowledge responsibly
IRA’s bimonthly newspaper, Reading Today, is received by all members and contains news and features about the reading profession, as well as information about Association activities.