International Literacy Day 2018

Celebrating the Importance of Literacy & Skills

September 8, 2018 is International Literacy Day. This year’s theme is all about skill development — specifically, the linkages between literacy and the crucial skills learners need to enter a rapidly evolving workforce. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), “skills” in the context of International Literacy Day 2018 refer to: “knowledge, skills and competencies required for employment, careers, and livelihoods, particularly technical and vocational skills, along with transferable skills and digital skills”(1). While International Literacy Day celebrates the importance of literacy in many sectors, each of these areas can be addressed in the PreK-12 educational environment, where students set a foundation for life-long literacy competencies.

Our literacy and learning science teams developed a guide to understanding and evaluating the core components of an effective approach to literacy instruction. The guide centers around the seven attributes of am effective literacy curriculum strategy, and is built from extensive research. To celebrate International Literacy Day and to take a closer look at how we can leverage literacy instruction to build skills necessary for tomorrow’s workforce, we’re taking a closer look at this research-based guide. Download the guide at the bottom of the blog, or catch a quick overview of the seven attributes below:


The first component of an effective approach to literacy instruction is to ensure instruction extends to address all learners. This portion of the guide is all about strategies to differentiate and engage across grade levels and abilities.


It’s also important to uphold instructional individualization. The authors of the guide suggest maintaining relevance by setting clear, attainable goals for each student among many other strategies.


Effective literacy instruction must be rooted in evidence-based approaches. We know so much from research about what’s needed to empower students with literacy skills, and looking for programs that are rigorous, research-driven, and uphold ESSA accountability guidelines is a great way to leverage the work done by academics and educators.


This portion of the guide is all about digital learning, and how educators can leverage powerful digital tools to provide students with personalized literacy instruction. In the guide, you’ll find an extensive, detailed list of ways to purposefully integrate digital tools into your literacy plan.


It’s critical that literacy instruction can be adjusted and tailored to student needs, which requires accurate and real-time student data. Assessment and monitoring can speed proficiency, and help accelerate skill building.


This component of an effective literacy plan centers around content literacy, and what educators can do to support students as they navigate increasingly complex texts and think critically about media, lectures, demonstrations, charts, and graphs.


Lastly, the guide focuses on the importance of professional learning opportunities for educators in an effective literacy plan, and provides an extensive list of ways to improve professional learning experiences.

Find the full guide below — and enjoy celebrating International Literacy Day!

(1) “International Literacy Day 2018: Literacy and Skills Development Concept Note.”, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization,