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Languages and Literacy


The objective of the Languages and Literacy Collaboration Center (LLCC) is to connect collaborative teams of world language educators and colleagues from other disciplines from across the United States in a project focused on developing learners’ literacy skills. Organized by ACTFL, this project provides all educators access to a multitude of webinars, mentoring, a virtual resource portal, and online discussions. Teams of 5-10 educators collaboratively develop model units and lessons for diverse learners. These model units and lessons may be discipline-specific or interdisciplinary depending on the site team membership and focus.

The focus of the LLCC is to facilitate a collaborative effort of language educators and across disciplines to develop and reinforce literacy skills for all learners, from Pre-Kindergarten through the postsecondary level, to support the development of 21st century literacy skill with growth in learners’ first and second languages. Once a member of the LLCC, educators will have access to high quality professional learning and materials, and find a place to connect with other educators from across disciplines to share ideas.

Sign up as a Collaborative Team today

Complete the team sign-up form online. To register additional team members, simply submit another sign-up form.

  • 5-10 educators per team
  • Prekindergarten through postsecondary levels
  • World language educators teaching the same language but different levels
  • World language educators of different languages, teaching the same level
  • World language educators of different languages and different levels
  • World language educators and those teaching other subject areas with an interest in developing learners’ literacy skills
  • Professors and instructors of methods for teaching languages

Benefits for participating in this initiative

Participants will have access to webinars focused on the development and reinforcement of literacy; a library of up-to-date resources focused on literacy; “Helpdesk” to respond to questions related to the creation of model lessons and units; access to the model units and lessons created by all the Collaborative Teams; Collaboration and professional learning with other teams from across the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How has the definition of literacy changed in the 21st century?
  2. How does second language learning support literacy development across disciplines?
  3. What are the benefits of participating in the LLCC initiative?
  4. How do I become involved?
  5. What if I don’t have a team?
  6. What are the expectations for teams who join this initiative?

1. How has the definition of literacy changed in the 21st century?

Traditionally, literacy was defined as the ability to read and write. Technology has multiplied the ways that people communicate in the 21st century, expanding the definition of what it means to be literate. As technology continues to evolve, literacy is now commonly used in its plural form. Called “new literacies”, the International Reading Association (2009) identified four common elements among the various descriptions of these literacies:

  • The Internet and other information and communication technologies require new social practices, skills, strategies, and dispositions for their effective use;
  • New literacies are central to full civic, economic, and personal participation in a global community;
  • New literacies rapidly change as defining technologies change;
  • New literacies are multiple, multimodal, and multifaceted.

2. How does second language learning support literacy development across disciplines?

“It's time for us to recognize that every teacher is a language teacher. All teachers of all levels, subjects, and student populations teach language every day.” (Leslie Nabors Oláh, Penn Graduate School of Education News, 2015).   It is appropriate for teams of teachers representing ALL disciplines to discuss and share ideas related to literacy development.

The National Council of Teachers of English (2013) created a framework for 21st century literacies that identifies the abilities and competencies students need for successful participation in today’s world.  The ACTFL Languages and Literacy Collaboration Center (LLCC) adopted this framework as a way encourage collaboration towards common goals across all disciplines. Students need to:

  • Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
  • Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
  • Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
  • Create, critique, analyze and evaluate multimedia texts;
  • Attend to the ethnical responsibilities required by these complex environments.

3. What are the benefits of participating in the LLCC initiative?

The goal of this project is to create a meeting place for world language educators and their colleagues in other disciplines from across the United States who are interested in building their understanding and instructional repertoire related to 21st century literacies. Participants will have access to:

  • Webinars focused on the development and reinforcement of 21st century literacies;
  • Instructional strategies and research related to 21st century literacies;
  • Model lessons and units that highlight integration of literacy skills;
  • “Helpdesk” to respond to questions related to unit and lesson design;
  • Online discussions related to the various 21st century strands of literacy.

4. How do I become involved?

  • Form a team of 5 – 10 educators, pre-K through post-secondary, with at least one world language educator on the team.
  • Select a Team Leader to complete the team sign-up form.
  • After you receive confirmation from the LLCC, choose one of the literacy strands to explore:
    1. Cross-cultural Relationships
    2. Ethical Responsibilities
    3. Global Audiences
    4. Multimedia Texts
    5. Multiple Streams of Information
    6. Technology Tools
  • The Team Leader follows the instructions to register team members and the literacy strand your team has selected.
  • After completing these steps, you are ready to explore!
    • Explore and share ideas from a variety of resources related to the literacy and related questions your team identified.
    • Connect with other teams who are exploring the same literacy via the ACTFL Languages and Literacy Collaborative Center (LLCC).
    • Based on the resources your team explored and discussed, design an action plan to respond to the question(s) your team identified.
    • Implement the action plan in your team’s classes.
    • Set regular check-in points for your team to discuss progress in implementing the action plan, making adjustments as needed.
    • Assess the success of the action plan through self-reflection, team reflection, evidence of positive change among the learners in the classes where the action plan was implemented.
    • Determine next steps as a team:
      1. Rework your action plan if it was not successful.
      2. Dig deeper to further develop the literacy identified.
      3. Move on to another literacy to explore.

5. What if I don't have a team? You can join the LLCC as an individual member.

6. What are the expectations for teams who join this initiative?

  • Actively explore the literacy strand you have selected.
  • Submit sample lesson and unit plans showing how literacy is reinforced/enhanced.
  • Provide brief updates on progress to the LLCC as requested.
  • We encourage you to consider sharing your experiences:
    • At local, state, regional, and national levels
    • Through articles in The Language Educator, etc.
    • Through research
    • Through videoclips that showcase literacy

Read more: National Council of Teachers of English: Definition of 21st Century Literacies

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

For questions, contact Paul Sandrock.