Ebony Elizabeth Thomas is Associate Professor in the Literacy, Culture, and International Educational Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. A former Detroit Public Schools teacher and National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, she was a member of the NCTE Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color’s 2008-2010 cohort, served on the NCTE Conference on English Education’s Executive Committee from 2013 until 2017, and is the immediate past chair of the NCTE Standing Committee on Research. Currently, she serves as co-editor of Research of the Teaching of English, and her most recent book is The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games (NYU Press, 2019).













Trudy Ludwig is a highly acclaimed children’s advocate, speaker, and award-winning author of children’s books including The Invisible Boy, a School Library Journal Best Picture Books Selection and a recommended back-to-school book by USA Today and Scholastic Instructor. An active member of the International Bullying Prevention Association, Trudy has collaborated with leading experts and organizations including Sesame Workshop, Committee for Children, and to help kids connect with their peers in kinder, more inclusive ways. She has received rave reviews from educators, experts, organizations, and parents for her passion and compassion in addressing peer aggression and friendship issues.



Antero Garcia is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University where he studies how technology and gaming shape both youth and adult learning, literacy practices, and civic identities. Prior to completing his Ph.D., Antero was an English teacher at a public high school in South Central Los Angeles. His most recent research studies explore learning and literacies in tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons and how participatory culture shifts classroom relationships and instruction. Based on his research focused on equitable teaching and learning opportunities for urban youth through the use of participatory media and gameplay, Antero co-designed the Critical Design and Gaming School–a public high school in South Central Los Angeles. Antero’s research has appeared in numerous journals including American Educational Research Journal, Harvard Educational Review, and Reading Research Quarterly. His most recent books are Good Reception: Teens, Teachers, and Mobile Media in a Los Angeles High School, Doing Youth Participatory Action Research: Transforming Inquiry with Researchers, Educators, and Students (with Nicole Mirra and Ernest Morrell), and Pose, Wobble, Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction (with Cindy O’Donnell-Allen). Antero received his Ph.D. in the Urban Schooling division of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.


P. L. Thomas, Professor of Education (Furman University, Greenville SC), taught high school English in rural South Carolina before moving to teacher education. He is a former column editor for English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English), current series editor for Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres (Brill), and author of Teaching Writing as Journey, Not Destination: Essays Exploring What ‘Teaching Writing’ Means (IAP, 2019) and How to End the Reading War and Serve the Literacy Needs of All Students: A Primer for Parents, Policy Makers, and People Who Care (IAP, in press). NCTE named Thomas the 2013 George Orwell Award winner. He recently co-edited Critical Media Literacy and Fake News in Post-Truth America (Brill, 2018). Follow his work @plthomasEdD and the becoming radical (

Call for Proposals

We look forward to welcoming the Literacies for All Summer Institute to Normal, Illinois, during Summer 2020! Our theme for the conference reflects our organization’s ongoing rejuvenation and serves as an invitation for educators who believe that ALL children deserve personally meaningful learning contexts, children (not programs) are the primary informants of literacy curriculum, and teachers are experts in their classrooms to become active in the organization by sharing their visions and voices about the future of holistic literacy education.

Each of these ideas has particular relevance to the past and future of our organization and to the current state of literacy education.

  • Personally meaningful learning contexts are contexts in which children’s languages and cultures are valued and recognized as assets for learning and where educators engage children in using multiple literacies to explore issues of equity in their local and global communities.
  • Curriculum is developed alongside children as they engage in authentic literacy events and kidwatching is the foundation of this process. Instructional practices are selected with intention and implemented to support children’s developing language and literacy skills and literate identities.
  • Teachers as experts explore current research, cultivate an inquiry stance, and engage in collaborative action research as a continuous cycle of professional growth.

The Summer Institute affords educators the opportunity to come together to learn and explore these beliefs through a variety of forums including individual presentations, workshops, symposia, panels, conversations, and poster sessions. We invite proposals that focus on:

  • Collaborations between learners, teachers, parents, and community members, including community study, service learning, critical pedagogy, and social action
  • Collaborative projects that cross boundaries within and across communities, states, and countries
  • The use of technology, digital, visual, and critical literacies to bring us together across time and space, across political, social, economic, and geographic boundaries
  • How literacy and access to it positions us socially, economically, and politically
  • What it means to be literate in varied languages and cultures
  • How the meaning of literacy has changed and continues to evolve
  • Including and nurturing diverse languages and literacies in bilingual, multilingual, and monolingual English settings
  • Reading literature that reflects the lives of our students and broadens our scope to lived experiences other than our own
  • How meaningful teaching and authentic learning engagements support individuals’ social and emotional well-being

In addition to other sessions, the NCTE Early Childhood Education Assembly sponsors an early childhood strand pertaining to the education of children from birth to age eight, their families, and teachers. Early literacy sessions also address diversities in early childhood and highlight practices and processes that are situated in social, historical, and cultural contexts.

The LLA (Languages and Literacies for All) Summer Institute also offers a Preconference Workshop, a five-hour, co-sponsored, intensive workshop taking place the afternoon before the opening session of the Summer Institute and focusing on the complex political and critical issues that surround whole language philosophy and teaching. With goals of teacher support and professional development, advocacy, and political action, participants actively engage in dialogue and small and whole group interactions. A separate Preconference Proposal form should be submitted by the dates indicated on the proposal form.

The Literacies for All Summer Institute is a peer reviewed conference. All proposals addressing whole language beliefs will be considered. Look for more information about the conference on the Facebook page and follow us on Twitter, #LLA20.

Important Notes:  Because LLA is a not-for-profit organization, the financial viability of its Annual Convention depends upon the support of everyone who attends. Invited participants are required to register for the conference when they accept their invitation. NCTE/LLA is unable to reimburse program participants for travel or living expenses.  Session proposers should advise all involved in their proposal that submission of a proposal does not constitute an invitation to appear on the program. Invitations will be sent in April following the Program Planning Committee’s peer-review and selection process.

The Call for Proposals is now closed, thank you!



Preconference Workshop, Registration, and Hotel


This event has been postponed until July 8-10, 2021. Please watch this website for details on the 2021 LLA Summer Institute


LLA Scholarship Fund

LLA Scholarships assist teachers who embrace whole language practices in their classrooms. Scholarships are available each year for teachers to attend the Literacies for All Summer Institute. The scholarship supports registration costs and one year of LLA/NCTE membership. Each award is valued to be no more than $300. Scholarship application deadline: May 20, 2020

Scholarship Application


Special thanks to the sponsors who help to make the Literacies for All Summer Institute possible.


Center for Expansion of Language and Thinking (CELT)

Early Childhood Education Assembly (ECEA)

Past LLA Literacies for All Summer Institutes


2019 Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 10-12, 2019, Columbia, South Carolina
Embracing Diversity through Meaningful Inquiry

2018 Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 12-14, 2018, Baltimore, Maryland
Sustaining Joy in Our Learning Communities during Challenging Times

2017 Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 20-22, 2017, Tucson Arizona
Global Literacies, Global Conversations: Celebrating Our Connections

2016 Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 14-16, 2016, St. Louis, Missouri
Literacy That Matters: Curriculum, Creativity, and Critical Action

2015 Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 9-11, 2015, Atlanta, Georgia
Sharing Our Stories: Re-visioning Our Worlds: Reading, Writing, and Taking Action

2014 Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 17-19, 2014, Pasadena, California
Making Meaning: Teaching and Learning Together

2013 Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 18-20, 2013, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York
Authentic Literacy Events and Social Actions: Celebrating Relationships and Partnerships

2012 Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 19-21, 2012, St. Louis, Missouri
Reclaiming Joy in Teaching, Learning, and Research

2011 Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 21-24, 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada
Teachers, Students, and Families Together: Nurturing Literate Communities

2010 Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 8-11, 2010, Indianapolis, Indiana
Reflecting on Our Practice: Pathways and Possibilities

2009 Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 9-12, 2009, Columbia, South Carolina
Learning in the Company of Others: Reading, Writing, and Inquiring in the 21st Century