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UW’s Robertson Helps Write Standards for Preparing Literacy Professionals

May 21, 2018
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Dana Robertson

University of Wyoming College of Education Assistant Professor Dana Robertson, executive director of UW’s Literacy Research Center and Clinic, was part of a team of 28 literacy experts that recently wrote updated standards for preparing literacy professionals.

“Dr. Robertson’s expertise in literacy education is well-known and appreciated across the state of Wyoming,” UW College of Education Dean D. Ray Reutzel says. “It also is gratifying to see that he also is now recognized as an expert on the national and international stage of literacy education, as he helped to set the future direction and standards governing the profession.”

The guidelines, an update from 2010, recently were published in “Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017.” The manuscript provides a set of criteria for developing and evaluating literacy professional preparation programs. The standards focus on ensuring that future literacy professionals are well-versed in the knowledge, skills and character traits necessary for effective educational practice.

“It was an honor and privilege to be part of a team of highly esteemed literacy professionals, renowned scholars and teachers alike,” Robertson says. “The rich discussions about what it means to be a literacy educator were both enlightening and inspiring.”

The new standards have the potential to influence a wider scope of teacher preparation programs, as previous versions of the standards focused primarily on the preparation of reading professionals. This revised version specifies the knowledge base for reading professionals as well as classroom teachers, school administrators and other educational professionals.

Contemporary research and evidence-based practices in curriculum, instruction, assessment and leadership are the foundation of the updated standards, which also provide a broader definition of literacy beyond reading. The standards now define literacy to include writing, speaking, listening, viewing and visually representing in both print and digital realms.

“The broader definition of literacy put forth in the revised standards is inclusive of multiple modes of representation of meaning and text to stay on par with the ever-evolving ways we communicate,” Robertson says. “In the 21st century, this includes digital representations, visual and spatial representations, sound representations and, of course, traditional print text.”

The standards are published by the International Literacy Association (ILA), a global organization that advocates on behalf of its 300,000 members, who are literacy educators, researchers and experts. ILA hopes to empower educators, inspire students and encourage leaders with the resources they need to make literacy accessible for all by setting the standard for how literacy is defined, taught and evaluated.

Those interested in purchasing a copy of the standards may do so here.

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