Letter from the Chair of the
Arkansas Literacy Association
Chair Kelly Hogan
Greetings ALA Members!
It is a great honor to be serving as the Arkansas Literacy Association’s President for the 2020-2021 year. Several months ago, I chose “Literacy and Justice for All” as this year’s theme. The idea was for the theme to correlate with the excitement many Americans feel every four years as we embrace patriotic traditions, such as the Olympics and voting for a new U.S. President. While many of our yearly traditions have been modified or put on hold due to these unprecedented circumstances, it is now more important than ever for us to embrace the themes of “literacy” and “justice.” This theme has taken on a more relevant and urgent meaning.
As I have worked to adapt to the new reality that is virtual learning, it has become ever more apparent to me just how important learning literacy skills is for our students. From talking to educators who work with a variety of different age groups, I have heard them express time and time again that keeping our students reading is the best thing we can encourage them to do right now from an educational standpoint. I have seen teachers, librarians, and literacy specialists implement so many creative ideas in order to keep their students reading and growing as learners. Promoting literacy is more essential now than it has ever been, and I am proud to see so many educators answering this call to action.
While it may be obvious that a focus on literacy is key for our organization, I also believe the theme of social justice is just as necessary at this time. Over the past few months, we have seen that social justice is more than just a theme or a trend. Rather, social justice is something we must always be striving for as educators and as contributing members of society. Our students look to us to be role models in the fight against injustice, and it is essential that we continue working towards progress and bettering ourselves. We must be conscious of our own biases and realize that we all have something to learn. This theme of social justice encompasses the ideals of promoting diversity, tolerance, and exposure to a world outside of our own. As educators, we have to be mindful of all of our students’ needs in their entirety. It is a heavy, yet worthwhile, responsibility that we must all embrace. I hope you will join our organization this year as we seek to promote literacy and social justice through our programming.
More than anything, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you. Our State Board, our local council officers, and all of our members are doing so many great things. I want each and every one of you to know that the work you do is important. Your work is meaningful and purposeful. Your work positively impacts so many people, whether you realize it or not. As we face these uncertain times, I have no doubt that all of our members will continue to effectively promote literacy in their communities and across the state of Arkansas. We will continue to move forward as advocates of literacy. I am delighted to be sharing this journey with you, and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead of us in the upcoming year.