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UW’s Reutzel Appointed to International Literacy Association Panel

July 2, 2018
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D. Ray Reutzel

University of Wyoming College of Education Dean D. Ray Reutzel recently was selected to serve on the International Literacy Association (ILA) Literacy Research Panel (LRP).

The ILA is at the cutting edge of literacy research, and the international expert panel of top researchers provides leadership regarding issues in the field of literacy.

The use of the term literacy has expanded over the years to include everything from cultural literacy to vegetable literacy, from religious literacy to health literacy, and from digital literacy to data literacy. Reutzel hopes his work with the panel will help clarify what is meant by literacy in a worldwide context to support the core goal of teaching people to read and write.

“Literacy, a term so broadly defined and appropriated into the public discourse, tends to dilute and diffuse the critical importance of human beings learning to read and write,” Reutzel says. “The LRP can act as a clearinghouse for the glut of research on the term literacy to sort out those studies that directly address the status of literacy worldwide and report research that addresses the goal and focus of teaching the world to read and write.”

A number of negative economic, academic and social outcomes also can be the result of a person’s inability to read and write. Reutzel hopes the ILA and the research it supports will improve the literacy of individuals, but also improve literacy levels of the populations of the state, the country and the world.

“In an information economy, everyone must be able to read and write well using both traditional and digital platforms. Our place in the world will be diminished or enhanced depending on how well we and other nations work to address the right and need of every child to learn, and love, to read and write well,” Reutzel says.

Reutzel, who has dedicated his career to literacy education, is the author of more than 230 published research reports, articles, books, book chapters and monographs on reading, early literacy and early childhood education. He has received more than $16 million in research and program development funding. He serves as president (2017-19) of the international Reading Hall of Fame.

Currently, the LRP includes 21 members from higher education institutions around the world. The panel was initiated in 2012 to respond to critical literacy issues facing policymakers, school administrators, teacher educators, classroom teachers, parents and the general public.

Members of the panel serve as resources for the editors of Reading Research Quarterly, as well as for ILA’s director of research. They also support the association’s advocacy mission.

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