International Literacy Day 2020 - National Council of Teachers of English
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International Literacy Day 2020

Each year, International Literacy Day is celebrated across the world on September 8th. This date was recognized by UNESCO in 1966 to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies.

This year, International Literacy Day 2020 focuses on “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond,” especially on the role of educators and changing pedagogies. As UNESCO states, “The theme highlights literacy learning in a lifelong learning perspective, and therefore, mainly focuses on youth and adults.” Learn more with these resources from NCTE.

Online learning and instruction offer their own particular benefits and challenges at any time—here NCTE suggests resources and activities that may help those suddenly faced with teaching online.

The May 2020 #NCTEchat focused on writing as a coping mechanism and social emotional learning technique for our students and ourselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out this archive of the chat.

“The question is not how we get books in students’ hands,” writes Lindsay Schneider, “The question is how do we fill our students’ lives with stories? How do we introduce them to a wide diversity of characters, genres, storylines, and writing styles? How do we let students explore the stories that are happening all around them right now and the stories happening within their own lives?” Read more in her blog post.

Elizabeth Morphis shares three pieces of advice for learning to teach during these times in her blog post

Jason D. DeHart reflects on teaching during the pandemic and how he is “all the more impressed at the vital role educators play, and the role English teachers have in celebrating stories and reaching into the powerful modes of culture. This is emotional work.”

We’d love to know what literacy learning will look like with your students this semester!


Curious about the NCTE and Library of Congress connection? Through a grant announced recently by NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick, NCTE is engaged in new ongoing work with the Library of Congress, and “will connect the ELA community with the Library of Congress to expand the use of primary sources in teaching.” Stay tuned for more throughout the year!

It is the policy of NCTE in all publications, including the Literacy & NCTE blog, to provide a forum for the open discussion of ideas concerning the content and the teaching of English and the language arts. Publicity accorded to any particular point of view does not imply endorsement by the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, the staff, or the membership at large, except in announcements of policy, where such endorsement is clearly specified.