International Literacy Association

International Literacy Association
Formation 1956
Purpose Literacy
Headquarters United States Newark, Delaware, United States
Region served
Robert J. Tierney

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.

The organization, whose headquarters are in Newark, Delaware, United States, has a network of more than 300,000 literacy educators, researchers, and experts members across 128 countries,[1] 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.[2] The current ILA President of the Board is Robert J. Tierney. He was Vice President of the ILA Board of Directors between 2020 and 2021.[3]


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.[4]

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. Literacy Today is currently an online-only quarterly magazine.

ILA 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

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

ILA hosts an annual professional development conference for educators, from classroom teachers and librarians to specialized literacy professionals, administrators, and principals.

Amid ongoing concerns regarding the safety of large gatherings, the International Literacy Association (ILA) 2021 Conference, set to take place October 12–17 in Indianapolis, IN, has been canceled.

Instead, ILA is expanding its slate of virtual learning options for 2021 and will continue to evolve its model of professional development delivered on digital platforms.

Children's Rights to Read

During Children’s Literature Day at the ILA 2018 Conference, then President of the 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

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

  • Adolescent Literacy Interest Group of ILA
  • Canadian SIG on Literacy
  • Children's Literature and Reading
  • Concern for Affect in Reading Education (CARE)
  • Content Area Reading
  • Disabled Reader Special Interest Group (DRSIG)
  • District Literacy Leadership (DiLL)
  • Foundation Skills
  • ILARI Partnerships
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Language Experience Approach (LESIG)
  • Leadership Educ. & Dev. for Educators in Reading (LEADER)
  • Literacy and Social Responsibility
  • Literacy Development in Young Children (LDYC)
  • Mastery Learning
  • Organization of Teacher Educators in Literacy (OTEL)
  • Professors of Literacy and Teacher Education (PLTE)
  • Readability
  • Reading for Gifted and Creative Students
  • Technology in Literacy Education (TILE)

Awards and Grants

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
  • Diane Lapp & James Flood Professional Collaborator Award
  • Exemplary Reading Program Award
  • Honor Award
  • Jeanne S. Chall Research Fellowship
  • Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award
  • Leaders Inspiring Readers Award
  • Local Chapter Community Service Award
  • Maryann Manning Special Service Award
  • Steven A. Stahl Research Grant
  • Timothy Shanahan (educator) & 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]


  1. ^ "About Us & Mission | International Literacy Association". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  2. ^ "Join ILA". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  3. ^ "Our Team & Leadership | International Literacy Association".
  4. ^ "Reading Online". Reading Online. Retrieved August 19, 2012.[verification needed]
  5. ^ "Literacy Today, May/June 2019". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  6. ^ "Position Statements | International Literacy Association". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  7. ^ "Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  8. ^ "Support Children's #RightsToRead". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  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 June 17, 2019.
  13. ^ "Awards & Grants | International Literacy Association". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  14. ^ "IRA/UNESCO". Retrieved March 25, 2013.

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