National Report to the International Development in Europe (August 2005)

National Report to the International Development in Europe  (August 2005)
Commitee of the International Reading Association (IRA) by Renate Valtin National Report to the International Development in Europe
Committee of the International Reading Association (IRA)

Submitting the report: Ursula Gern, International Coordinator

Name, address, telephone, fax, e-mail of contact person:
Ursula Gern, Lerchenweg 6, 24646 Warder, phone: 04329/535
mobile: 0171/1730047,  fax at work: 04321/9423605

Time period of report: January 2005 to July 2005

1. Membership:
About 600, the DGLS was founded in 1968

2. Board:
President:  Prof. Renate Valtin, Humboldt Universität Berlin
Vice President:  Dr. Ada Sasse, Universität Erfurt

3. Conferences
For several years the DGLS has been running an annual conference open for members and non-members and an annual meeting  for members only.
The  annual conference 05 is scheduled for September 17 at Berlin, Humboldt University with the topic “ Literacy and socio-economic deprivation”. The annual meeting for members will take place from Nov.18-20 at “Schloss Rauischholzhausen” with a general meeting and the new board to be elected. The meeting will focus on reading and spelling difficulties ( Dyslexia).

Recent publication: Ada Sasse & Renate Valtin (Eds): Lesen lehren, Berlin 2005
ISBN 3-9809663-1-3
The book contains theoretical models and practical projects regarding the development of reading competence and reading strategies. It contains papers from the annual conference 2004.

5.New projects
DGLS is going to run the 15th European Conference on Reading “Checkpoint Literacy”  in Berlin 2007”, August 5-8, 07, Humboldt University.

6.Partnership  with the Bulgarian Reading Association BulRA
The partnership - existing since 2002 - was fostered by implementing a second EU Youth Program funded project aiming at developing intercultural literacy.
In April 05 12 Bulgarian students met with German students in  Luebeck, Germany  for seven days with the president of BulRA as head of the group ( report under

The International Reading Association
by Pehr-Olof Rönnholm, chair, International Reading Association,
International Development Co-ordinating Committee
International Reading Association has close to 100,000 members some 70 % are individual members, the rest are institutions like libraries, institutes etc. The great majority is classroom teachers and reading specialists. A few thousand members are from outside the USA.

More than 1,200 International Reading Association councils in North America hold regular meetings and conferences and promote literacy at local, state, provincial, and national levels. In addition, more than 50 volunteer committees and 45 special interest groups explore a wide variety of issues and interests. Outside North America there are 42 national affiliates who have been given a member charter by the main organisation based in Newark, Delaware.

Like in other regions all the European national associations form an International Development Committee. The roots go back to an anglo-nordic co-operation in the 70s. Today the committee has close to 30 members who meet twice a year.

As advocates of professionalism in the teaching of reading, International Reading Association participates actively in the process of shaping policy in education, and disseminates research-based positions on critical issues to members, educators, policy makers, parents and the media. In addition, International Reading Association provides leadership and support for literacy activities throughout the world in both industrialised nations and developing countries.

Professional Development
Through providing opportunities for communication and professional growth among the various constituencies within the literacy field, International Reading Association facilitates the exchange of ideas among educators. The organisation hosts several professional conferences each year, including one-day focused forums and seminars that give educators opportunities to exchange the latest research and discuss implications for the teaching practice.
Publications are an essential part of the professional offers. They include publications of more than 100 print and non-print titles on reading and related topics that address important issues facing professional educators today. The International Reading Association publishes five peer-reviewed professional journals and produces 15-20 new books, videotapes, and electronic products each year. Reading Today, a bimonthly newspaper, is mailed to all members of the association.
The International Reading Association Annual Convention is arranged somewhere in the USA. In 2001 the site was New Orleans. Over 15 000 literacy professionals gather from all over the world for exchange of information. Teachers in reading and related fields share their experience and provide valuable information on new techniques, insights, and research. All presenters do it voluntarily.
Every other year, the Association organises a world congress on reading. The presentations and workshops attract educators, administrators, and researchers dedicated to enhancing and expanding literacy. The next world congress will be in Edinburgh in the summer of 2002.
In Europe regional Reading Conferences are arranged every odd year, in 2001 it will be held in Dublin. The programme committee has accepted 240 proposals (Including 90 from USA). At least 400 persons are welcome to participate. The International Development in Europe Committee has organized 10 conferences since the 70s. The International Reading Association office in Paris organized the very first one. The office does not exist any more.
The International Reading Association's commitment to promote literacy is reflected in the Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking (RWCT) project, active in 20 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Based on the financing and the idea of the Soros foundations that democratic practices in schools play an important role in the transition toward more open societies, RWCT is designed to be adaptable to many different settings and contexts.
The International Reading Association grants program offers financial support to school- and university-based researchers world-wide, and the awards program recognises researchers at all stages of their careers including teachers as researchers.

The International Reading Association Mission:

Formed in 1956, the International Reading Association seeks to promote high levels of literacy for all by improving the quality of reading instruction through studying the reading process and teaching techniques; serving as a clearinghouse for the dissemination of reading research through conferences, journals, and other publications; and actively encouraging the lifetime reading habit.

National associations
For the individual educator the most important organisation is the national association. Some associations consist of several councils like in Sweden, but in the majority of European countries individual members form the association. As a national association affiliated to the International Reading Association it is obliged to serve all language groups within the country. There is only one exception in Europe. The Belgian association consists of two sections: a Flemish and a French one. The writer does not know how the German language group is cared for. It is important that an association is built on the tradition and culture of a country in order to be able to serve the needs. This is also a base for a fruitful exchange of knowledge and information between the different national associations.

For more information check the European web site

or the International Reading Association's

You can also contact Janet Butler,

Tel: +1 302 731 600, ext. 293. Fax:  +1 302 731 1057, e-mail:

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