To help promote international literacy development, and provide professional development opportunities related to the improvement of reading and writing instruction in the area of international literacy.


Carol Owles, Chair
with a representative from each council


The International Committee of the Illinois Reading Council has created a grant to promote literacy projects internationally. Studies indicate that poverty levels and literacy rates are inversely proportional. By supporting our international community in the areas of literacy, it in turn improves our universal society. The IRC wants to support these efforts. The  International Grant Application and Deadlines are available online. The maximum amount per grant is $500. The application deadline is May 1. Grants will be awarded for the fiscal year ending June 30. Awards will be announced by July 15.



  • A to Z Literacy Movement is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that improves the lives of impoverished children through literacy development.  Currently, the organization’s activities are primarily focused in Zambia, Africa and the Chicagoland area.  This year we will: 1) provide school lunches for approximately 160 pupils for six months- $1890; 2) Entirely fund the yearly salary of two Zambian teachers - $3500; 3) Ship over 3000 books to classrooms, libraries, and children's camps in Zambia.  Cost to ship a box of books = $4995; and 4) Remodel and replenish small library for after school program in northern Illinois = $100.  Daily, A to Z Literacy Movement and its partners provide education and support to over 100 Zambian children.  For more information about the A to Z Literacy Movement, please contact Mal Keenan.

  • Guatemalan Schools benefit from handicraft sales at annual IRC Conference.  One of IRC's International Projects is to provide as many books to the classrooms in Guatemala.  In February, a team of IRA members travel to Guatemala to work in their elementary schools and in their "Normales" (teacher training schools) for one week.  While in Antigua, Guatemala, several Reading Councils in the U.S. purchase  handicrafts from small shops and vendors to sell at various meetings and conferences.  The profits from these sales will be used to purchase books for Guatemalan classrooms, teachers, and students.  Look for the Guatemalan Handicraft Booth at the annual IRC Conference.  For more information about the Guatemalan Schools Project, please contact Carol Owles.

  • Making Literacy BELIZEABLE!: Sharing a Love of Literacy and Spaces for Social-Emotional Learning in San Antonio, Belize:  With the help of the IRC International Projects Committee, the students in a small, rural village in San Antonio, Belize shared their love for literacy with undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, faculty, and staff of Judson University from Elgin, Illinois. Each class was given between thirteen and fifteen picture books and a suitcase filled with independent reading books. The themes of the week featured social-emotional learning (SEL) topics: celebrating differences and unique talents, filling others’ buckets by being kind, developing empathy, acting on injustices, and deepening a healthy sense of self-awareness and socialawareness. One of the catch-phrases of the IRC International Projects Committee is to point out the inverse proportionality between poverty levels and literacy rates; this community of learners taught those of us privileged to share their week that there is also an inverse proportionality between one’s poverty level and deep connection to faith Making Literacy BELIZEABLE! Kristen Stombres and Jennifer Katrein and hope. We witnessed true joy in learning as we prepared and shared in interactive read aloud stories; we watched student discourse bring about understanding and leadership; we experienced life-long learning — learning that benefited these students in San Antonio, but also learning that forever changed the lives of those of us who were fortunate to spread a love of literacy. Thank you, from the depths of our hearts, for helping us make this vision a reality! For more information, please contact Kristen Stombres and Jennifer Katrein.

For more information, contact us at [email protected].