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What Is NCTE?

The National Council of Teachers of English
A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts

1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, Illinois 61801-1096
Phone: 217-328-3870217-328-3870, 800-369-NCTE800-369-NCTE (6283);
Fax: 217-328-0977; Website:  

The National Council of Teachers of English promotes the development of literacy, the use of language to construct personal and public worlds and to achieve full participation in society, through the learning and teaching of English and the related arts and sciences of language. We do this through a vast array of programs, publications, and projects designed to support more than 30,000 members nationwide and increasingly whole schools and districts.

The Council is more than 100 years old and has survived through more than a century because of its ability to continually evolve to meet the current needs of its constituents and to reach out beyond our community to support the needs of the educational landscape as a whole.

Today, being literate means so much more than simply being able to read and write. Twenty-first century literacy requires the ability to compose in multiple genres for multiple purposes within multiple disciplines. Across the country, access to the kind of teaching and learning this broadened definition of literacy demands is not guaranteed. There is an urgent need to communicate decades of NCTE experience and expertise in new arenas, and to secure grants that will allow us to address gaping equity issues where access to quality literacy learning is sorely needed.

NCTE Publications

NCTE publishes a membership magazine, The Council Chronicle, plus the following journals:
  • College English
  • English Journal
  • Language Arts
  • College Composition and Communication
  • English Education
  • English Leadership Quarterly
  • Voices from the Middle  
  • Research in the Teaching of English
  • Teaching English in the Two-Year College
  • Talking Points
NCTE also publishes newsletters, position papers, policy research briefs, and other documents on professional concerns.

NCTE publishes books for teachers at the elementary, middle,  secondary, and college levels in such areas as writing, literature, composition and rhetoric, and research. These books address current issues related to theory and practice in English Studies, literacy, and English language arts, and provide practical ideas for the classroom. The annual catalog includes some 300 titles.

NCTE has 30,000 members and subscribers in the United States and other countries. Individual members are teachers and supervisors of English programs in elementary, middle, and secondary schools; literacy educators across the disciplines; faculty in college and university English departments; teacher educators; local and state agency English specialists; and professionals in related fields.

Affiliated Groups
NCTE sponsors 100 regional, state, provincial, local, and student affiliates throughout the United States and Canada.

Education Policy
NCTE represents its interests and concerns related to federal legislation and initiatives through its Washington, DC, office. NCTE policies are used to guide teachers and schools in English language arts instruction. For example, the positions on class size and workload are regularly used as schools consider how many students should be in a class and or taught by one teacher; the NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts has been influential in state and district curriculum development. NCTE’s policies and work at the national and local levels support classroom teachers and their choices of curricular materials and teaching methods.

National Projects
NCTE is a cosponsor of a number of national projects, such as the African American Read-In, Banned Books Week, Connected Educator Month, and Read across America. NCTE held its first National Day on Writing on October 20, 2009; the Day continues to be held on October 20 each year. In 2011, NCTE and the Ball Foundation created the National Center for Literacy Education to celebrate the work of successful school teams that are achieving remarkable results in advancing literacy learning.

Professional Learning
For 100 years NCTE has focused on supporting teacher and student learning. In addition to books and journals, NCTE offers a rich mix of online and face-to face professional development opportunities, on key topics such as 21st century literacies and advancing adolescent literacy; national conventions and institutes and regional and local conferences; a highly qualified consultant network, whose members are prepared to offer professional learning experiences to teachers in schools and districts across the nation; and, ReadWriteThink, created by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Literacy Association (ILA), which provides free instructional practices and digital resources that support effective reading and language arts instruction for all learners.

Nearly 20 committees carry out projects on issues and topics in the teaching of English, among them research, media, censorship, and instructional technology.

Interest Groups
NCTE offers its members opportunities to grow professionally by interacting with colleagues in all facets of literacy education. Individuals belong to any of four broad Sections of membership: Elementary, Middle, Secondary, or College. They may also join other groups centered on various teaching specialties within the English field, each with its own journal, meetings, and projects. Major interest groups, called Conferences, serve teachers of college writing and rhetoricteacher educators in higher education and inservice posts; teachers with an interest in whole language; and English department chairs, K–12 supervisors, and other English instruction leadersAssemblies are informal special interest groups, ranging in focus from using computers in the English classroom to research.

Awards Programs
The Achievement Awards in Writing, the Promising Young Writers Awards, and the Norman Mailer High School and College Writing Awards for Nonfiction honor individual students for excellent performance in writing. The Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines honors schools for outstanding student publications. The NCTE Distinguished Service Award honors an educator who has made outstanding contributions to the profession and to the Council. The NCTE/SLATE National Intellectual Freedom Awards honor individuals, groups or institutions that merit recognition for advancing the cause of intellectual freedom. Other awards given by NCTE’s constituent groups, committees, and journals call attention to outstanding educators, books, and articles on literacy education.

Support for Research
The James R. Squire Office of Policy Studies in the English Language Arts serves as a national clearinghouse for demographic and descriptive studies of matters deemed critical to NCTE’s mission and strategic objectives. In addition to conducting primary research about English language arts teachers, teaching conditions, and student achievement, the office offers a publicly accessible database of findings from many sources. The office also creates policy summaries to advance the knowledge of teachers, researchers, curriculum leaders, professional development specialists, government officials, and others who are dedicated to advancing achievement in English language arts.

NCTE's 44-member staff in Urbana, IL, manages the Council's programs and activities; supports the work of its volunteer task groups; manages its conventions; edits and publishes its professional materials; fulfills subscriptions and publication orders; and provides a range of other services to members.

NCTE’s Washington, DC, office represents English and language arts professionals through policy initiatives and federal legislation.


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1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, Illinois 61801-1096 Phone: 217-328-3870 or 877-369-6283

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