About UKLA

UKLA is committed to promoting good practice nationally and internationally in literacy and language teaching and research. The Association was founded in 1963 as the United Kingdom Reading Association. In 2003 it changed its name to the United Kingdom Literacy Association, to reflect more accurately its wider range of concerns.  View the UKLA Executive Committee.

Mission Statement

UKLA aims to inform all those concerned with the development of language, literacy and communication, encouraging them in reflection and dialogue, supporting their practice and giving public voice to their concerns.

Language, literacy and communication

UKLA’s understanding of the nature and successful practice of language, literacy and communication is that:

  • their forms are complex, changing and intricately related
  • they foster engagement, creativity, imagination, emotional development and empathy
  • they have the construction of meaning as their basis, not phonics
  • there is an especially close relationship between oral and written language
  • changing technologies and diversifying communities affect language use
  • language development begins in the home and community and language teaching and learning is not, therefore, the exclusive concern of formal institutions
  • successful language development draws on a wide range of resources including children’s experiences in a variety of cultures
  • critical literacy is an essential part of literacy development at all levels
  • reflection and knowledge of appropriate research can assist language and literacy development, acknowledging diversity and inclusion.

Approaches to literacy learning and teaching

UKLA supports approaches to literacy learning and teaching that draw on the above. It recognises the significance for effective language, literacy and communication learning of literature, drama, multimodal texts, information texts and digital media. It welcomes approaches to teaching that draw on diverse cultures and that are informed by a detailed understanding of how literacy and language work, including knowledge about non-spoken communication such as gesture. In fulfilling its mission UKLA aims to provide support for:

  • professional development that empowers and enables members to be agents of change
  • advocacy for a wide range of issues relatedto language and literacy
  • equality of opportunity and respect for all language users
  • the provision of research-informed evidence
  • professional connections between teaching and research
  • the formation of partnerships with organisations who share UKLA’s interests.

Main activities

UKLA’s main activities are:

  • presenting an informed national voice on language, literacy and communication issues
  • challenging policy developments, where appropriate
  • developing formal and informal communication systems with and between members by the provision of a newsletter, peer-reviewed journals, a teaching magazine (in collaboration with the English Association) and support for regional groups
  • encouraging dialogue between teaching and research 
  • supporting and informing appropriate small-scale research
  • commissioning, disseminating and selling a wide range of books and other publications
  • organising and leading regional, national and international conferences and related activities
  • celebrating achievements through a system of awards
  • providing (limited) sponsorship for conference attendance in accordance with UKLA’s aims.

Quality of service to members

The quality of UKLA’s services to members is underpinned by:

  • effective networking within the Association
  • contacts with national bodies
  • co-operation and partnership with appropriate sister organisations
  • representation on the Federation of European Literacy Associations
  • a clearly thought-out management and administrative structure
  • conformity to Charity Commission guidelinesand modern financial systems
  • providing appropriate training for those holding voluntary or salaried posts within the Association
  • vigilance in promoting equality of opportunity.

Membership

While the Association’s principal mission is to those concerned with teaching and learning, UKLA membership is open to anyone sharing its beliefs. UKLA recognises the value of discussion and debate and welcomes a range and variety of viewpoints within a broad-based membership while avoiding obviously partisan approaches and extremes of opinion. UKLA’s funding is in the main from membership fees, publications and conferences. UKLA accepts only limited sponsorship for very specific purposes and only where the Association retains ultimate control.

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