by Elizabeth Bleacher
The International Reading Association (IRA) Nila Banton Smith Award is given to teachers that show outstanding initiative in developing current content area literacy research into applicable classroom practice. Nila Banton Smith, author of American Reading Instruction
, was a specialist in reading instruction and the award is meant to honor her contributions to the field.
Applications for the award are due November 15. To be eligible for the award, nominees must be current IRA members and be classroom or reading teachers that work directly with students on a regular basis at the middle school, secondary school, vocational, or junior college level. Additionally, nominees are expected to have made significant contributions to developing content area teaching skills in the classroom at either the building or district level.
At the time of submission, nominators are required to include specific information about the nominee’s classroom level, building level, and/or district level contributions in content area literacy development. The information should demonstrate the nominee’s leadership abilities and provide evidence that the developed improvements had a positive impact on literacy in the classroom.
The application also requires a letter from the nominee’s principal/supervisor. The letter should be submitted on the appropriate letterhead and support the assertions of the other submissions included with the application.
Kelly Killorn, a sixth grade reading and language arts teacher in Minnesota, received the award in 2010 for her R.E.A.D. Framework. The Framework uses specific reading strategies and activities to enhance adolescent readers’ comprehension of text. Though she developed R.E.A.D. as a tool for students, Killorn realized that teachers could benefit from it as well. Killorn’s goal is that, eventually, all teachers across the U.S. will have access to her framework and implement it in some way.
For more information on the IRA Nila Banton Smith Award, visit the International Reading Association website.
Elizabeth Bleacher is the strategic communications intern at the International Reading Association.