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Literacy Education in 2023

If you were tasked to pick one word to guide your work as a literacy changemaker in the new year, what would it be? As the new year is upon us, and the magnitude of our work is arguably recognized as more important and crucial than ever, I have chosen measure as the action word guiding my work moving forward. In choosing this word, I hope that this new year brings new hope and understanding in how we measure literacy outcomes for all, in addition to a renewed sense of advocating for every human’s fundamental right to read. In this brief, three ways we can commit to measuring our impact in 2023 are discussed.

  1. Measure your intentions, individually and collectively.
    We know that naming our objectives and targets demonstrates an urgency for learning and a commitment to the task at hand, making it much more attainable and within reach. It is no coincidence that many will revisit their resolutions and vision boards in the new year. These intentions name possibilities around all that we can accomplish as we track our success against goals.
    2023 challenge: Revisit the International Literacy Association’s (ILA) Children’s Rights to Read (www.literacyworldwide.org/get-involved/childrens-rights-to-read). Identify a right that guides your work going into the new year. Network with your colleagues to communicate that intention and get a sense of what others are hoping to accomplish.
  2. Measure up to providing a supportive learning environment.
    Writing this article at a time when teacher shortage is a common phrase in news headlines and searches nationally and, in many cases, internationally, it is important for us to consider what measures add up to supporting our learners. We need integrated support systems that foster productive dialogues and open collaboration (www.literacyworldwide.org/docs/default-source/where-we-stand/ila-right-to-integrated-support-systems.pdf).
    2023 challenge: Take stock of how well individuals are working together as a team or what needs to be improved. Be prepared to take an honest look at what is working for readers/writers and commit to naming the resources needed to make that happen.
  3. Measure the impact of your network.
    Many midcareer professionals like me express hope for a renewed sense of commitment to research and practice over sound bites and swinging pendulums. There is a longing for a future that measures school, family, and community engagement as one collective working together as a network aimed at pushing for success in the same direction.
    2023 challenge: As you engage in professional learning and reading around literacy in the new year, commit to sharing thoughts and reactions within your network.

It is my hope that this new year finds you well, recharged, and recommitted to providing a comprehensive literacy program and pathway forward for all readers and writers.

Whether we measure up to that possibility will be based largely on our willingness to name our specific goals and intentions and to think creatively, openly, and innovatively about what constitutes a supportive learning environment, all while leaning on a reliable and uplifting network.

Dr. Kenneth Kunz is board president of the International Literacy Association and founder of For the Love of Literacy.

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