5 Innovative Champions of Literacy

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The 2015 Global Teacher Prize winner, finalists, and Academy members are strong advocates of literacy. In honour of International Literacy Day, here are four from the fantastic Teacher Prize network who have found innovative ways to teach literacy, and one surprise star!

1. Nancie Atwell, 2015 Teacher Prize Winner GTP-Nancie-Speaker-book-quote
Nancie Atwell of the USA has a vision for literacy: not only can her students learn to read and write, they can learn to love it too. Nancie’s workshops allow students to choose the subjects they write about and the books they read. Her school is widely known for its research-based literacy methods that help students develop an autonomous passion for language arts. Last April, Washington Post journalist Valerie Strauss and Nancie published an article introducing her school’s recommended books list and reading philosophy.

2. Madenjit Singh, 2015 Top 10 Teacher Prize Finalist

Madenjit Singh of Malaysia set out to be an advocate for poor children across South East Asia.  Aiming to simplify every subject, he designed his own system for teaching almost any student of any age how to read, write, speak and understand basic English in 3 to 6 months. This program is being taught to 350 public school teachers in Cambodia and also in public schools in Timor Leste by Madenjit’s students. You can read more about Madenjit’s teaching philosophy here.

3. Kiran Bir Sethi, 2015 Top 10 Teacher Prize Finalist  

Kiran Bir Sethi established the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India in 2001 in order to change the way students learned and how they developed literary skills. Kiran utilizes a simplified Design Thinking approach that leads students to understand empathetically rather than just intellectually, and puts academic learning into a real-world context. Her empowering work toward that end has been so successful that Riverside students have consistently outperformed the top 10 schools in India in English as well as math and science.

4. Ayla Goksel, 2016 Teacher Prize Academy Member ayla goksel_1
Photo credit: Al-Jazeera Turk

Ayla Goksel of Turkey is CEO of Ozyegin Social Investments presiding over ACEV (Mother Child Education Foundation), a Turkish NGO working in early childhood, female literacy and parent training. ACEV has provided education services for over 800,000 individuals and trained 9000 teachers and volunteers. Through her work with ACEV, Ayla provides a number of literacy programs for both adults and children across Turkey and nine other countries in the Middle East and Europe.

5. Dolly Parton, Hollywood Star
Photo credit: Billboard

That’s right! Dolly Parton is one of Hollywood’s foremost champions of literacy. In 1995, she established Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, initially launched in the United States and later expanding into Canada and the UK. The Imagination Library’s goal is to dramatically improve early childhood literacy by mailing high-quality, age appropriate books directly to children’s homes.

Do you know a champion for global literacy? Apply for the Global Teacher Prize or nominate a teacher today!



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