Charlie Temple of the HWS Education Department delivered a keynote speech at the International Reading Association's annual convention, April 30-May 4 in Chicago.
His talk, “Literacy Around the World: Four Projects on Five Continents (in Sixty Minutes!),” reviewed activities sponsored by the Open Society Institute, UNESCO, the World Bank, and the U.S. State Department that Temple and his colleagues have led.
He noted that attempts to enroll the world's 104 million children who are out of school might win the battle but lose the war if efforts to improve the quality of teaching and curriculum aren't approached with more vigor.
Issues of teacher training and curriculum development, including attention to literacy education in teacher training colleges, have mostly stayed off the radar of the donor nations supporting UNESCO's “Education for All” initiative.
Temple is serving as a Fulbright Scholar in Romania this spring, and participating in several literacy projects in the region. In Romania, he conducts workshops for teachers from the Romanian Literature Association who are writing contemporary literature for teenagers.
In Bulgaria, he is helping writers from Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and the Czech Republic produce children's literature for Roma children, in order to expand their knowledge of Roma culture and better their chances for success in school.
In a parallel project for teachers from Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia, Temple and colleagues are helping educators develop literacy assessment instruments and assessment-based teaching procedures for young Roma students.
Temple is also delivering workshops in the Misiones province of Argentina this spring and summer to help teachers improve their techniques for literacy instruction.
While at the IRA convention, Temple discussed writing projects with editors from two publishers. With Allyn and Bacon, he is co-writing a seventh edition of “Understanding Reading Problems — Assessment and Instruction,” and a second edition of “All Children Read: Teaching for Literacy in Diverse Classrooms;” and also an initial edition of the “Developmental Literacy Inventory;” all three are scheduled for publication in 2007.
He also negotiated a contract for a new book on teaching for critical thinking and critical literacy, which Guilford Publishing hopes to release in 2008.
The reading convention regularly draws between 15,000 and 20,000 educators.