Sep 8

Past Event

Not Your Grandfather’s Literacy: Scaling Higher-Order Skills for the 21st Century

Event Materials


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UNESCO’s “Literacy For All” initiative states that, in today’s knowledge-based society of increasingly complex technology and interactions, the “acquisition of basic literacy skills and the advancement and application of such skills throughout life is crucial.” This notion that traditional literacy, one of the most basic foundations for learning, along with “new” literacies like digital literacy and global citizenship, are crucial competencies raises an important question—what skills do children need for the future?

On September 8, The Center for Universal Education at Brookings hosted a discussion in honor of International Literacy Day. The discussion centered on what we know about the changing world young people are growing up in and the skills and literacies they will need to thrive. Examples of how education interventions can help young people acquire these skills and examine how good practices are or are not being scaled were also discussed. The event presentd a variety of perspectives on 21st century learning drawing from examples in the U.S. and internationally.

After featured remarks from Amanda Ripley, author of the best-selling book The Smartest Kids in the World—and How They Got That Way, a discussion followed with Cory Heyman, chief program officer of Room to Read and Jamira Burley, executive director to the City of Philadelphia Youth Commission. Rebecca Winthrop, senior fellow and director of the Brookings Center for Universal Education, moderated the discussion.

Event Agenda

  • Featured Remarks

    • Amanda Ripley

      Author, The Smartest Kids in the World

      Investigative Journalist, TIME and The Atlantic

  • Discussion

    • Moderator

      Portrait: Rebecca Winthrop
    • Jamira Burley

      Executive Director, Youth Commission

      City of Philadelphia

    • Cory Heyman

      Chief Program Officer

      Room to Read


September 8, 2014

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications