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Advocacy Month Week 3: Sharing Your Stance with Others

desert highwayOn each Friday of Literacy Advocacy Month, NCTE member Cathy Fleischer will guide readers through an exploration of Everyday Advocacy – a resource for educators who are looking for ways to make change. 

If you took to heart some of the ideas of the last post, you may have tried to be proactive about an issue surrounding literacy that you wish the public understood more fully.  Maybe you sent a note home to parents that explained some aspect of your literacy teaching; maybe you invited a community member into your classroom to see what smart literacy teaching and learning looks like ; maybe you made a new ally by starting a conversation with a colleague with whom you don’t always see eye-to-eye.

If you tried any of these ideas, you’ve started the first step toward advocacy:  sharing your stance with others and helping them understand literacy teaching a little bit differently.  How, now, might you move forward on a specific path—what we call an action plan?

Action plans involve:

  • narrowing your issue
  • deciding on a specific message
  • figuring out your audience
  • coming up with tactics that help others understand differently

In order to get started on an action plan, think about this:  who is the big decision maker about your issue and what might you do to help this person think in new ways?  Two of the teachers you’ll read about on Everyday Advocacy realized that in order to help change how reading is taught in their school, they needed to either be on the committee that made textbook decisions or create allies with others who were already on that committee.

This week, spend some time thinking about your message.  Read the sections Stay on Point, Thinking Long Term/Celebrating Short Term, and Discover Who’s in Charge.  As you consider some of the questions in each section, start to hone that message and the audience you’ll need to address.