What's hot in literacy: 2017 report

16 Jan 2017

1,500 teachers, policy-makers and literacy academics across range of countries, including Australia and New Zealand, were asked to rate 17 literacy topics as either "hot' or "important" in this global survey.

THE WHAT’S HOT SURVEY FINDINGS first appeared in the members-only newspaper of the International Reading Association (IRA), now the International Literacy Association (ILA), in 1997 under the title What’s Hot, What’s Not. Conducted for 20 years by Jack Cassidy, past president of IRA, the survey took the temperature of a list of topics deemed important by a sample of approximately 25 literacy leaders. These leaders were asked if certain issues were hot or not hot in terms of priority in that year’s educational landscape.

By 2001, the questions What should be hot? and What shouldn’t be hot? were added, painting a more comprehensive picture of what the hot topics in reading and writing instruction should be and how the conversations in education needed to shift.

The result was an annual, comprehensive ranking of issues, ranging from balanced reading and phonemic awareness in the ’90s to new literacies and literacy coaching in the last decade.

As literacy instruction evolved, so did the survey. In 2015, the findings were published in ILA’s member magazine, Literacy Today , under the name What’s Hot in Literacy—a change reflecting the importance of 21st-century skills and the belief that all educators are teachers of literacy.

Traditionally, the What’s Hot report has been used to foster relevant professional development within schools, to promote timely research and lifelong learning for literacy teachers, and to guide conversations in teacher education programs.

After decades of dedication, Jack Cassidy submitted his final What’s Hot in Literacy report for 2016. Rather than retire the project, valued by so many, ILA chose to reboot it instead.

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