by Jen Donovan
The meaning of literacy has changed tremendously in the last century, especially for adolescents. Because of the variety of platforms like social media, texting, e-mails, and instant messaging, adolescents must be prepared to work with traditional print materials as well as virtual forms communication in order to become productive citizens. The International Reading Association believes it is important for adolescents to be able to comprehend and construct information using both print and non-print materials. The Adolescent Literacy Committee and Adolescent Literacy Taskforce at the IRA have developed a new position statement as a guide for supporting adolescents’ ongoing literacy development.
The Association believes that adolescents deserve the following when it comes to fostering literacy:
- Content area teachers who provide instruction in the multiple literacy strategies needed to meet the demands of the specific discipline
- A culture of literacy in their schools with a systematic and comprehensive programmatic approach to increasing literacy achievement for all
- Access to and instruction with multimodal, multiple texts
- Differentiated literacy instruction specific to their individual needs
- Opportunities to participate in oral communication when they engage in literacy activities
- Opportunities to use literacy in the pursuit of civic engagement
- Assessments that highlight their strengths and challenges
- Access to a wide variety of print and non-print materials
The IRA website includes a printer-friendly, full-text PDF of the position statement as well as more information about it.
Jen Donovan is the strategic communications intern at the International Reading Association.