AASL and ISTE Standards from the Context of Adolescent Literacy

The American Association of School Librarians, or AASL, create standards that are utilized nationwide by librarians to develop curriculum. These AASL standards are built upon 6 foundational principles: inquire, include, curate, explore, engage, and collaborate.

These are the AASL Foundation Standards. To learn more about the specifics of each of these foundations according to the AASL, please click the image below to visit the AASL website.

How school librarians use these standards to engage with adolescents is key to understanding the role librarians play in the development of adolescents. One such role is the development of adolescent literacy. An article by Spiering (2019) examines how librarians can engage with adolescent literacies using these standards. Adolescent literacy is defined as the ways that young people make sense of text, images and other media in many different contexts in their everyday and online lives (Spiering, p. 46). This is important for librarians, as they seek to find new ways to engage with students and utilize different tools and resources to teach literacy skills. Spiering connects adolescent literacy to the Shared Foundations of the AASL Standards Framework for Learners (2018). For example, she describes how students can learn about evaluating sources of information for accuracy and purpose by examining social media posts and considering how creators of social media posts use images, texts, and sounds to convey messages. Utilizing non-traditional media in critical inquiry ties into the shared foundations of Inquire and Explore.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has slightly different ways of defining their standards, but these standards still align with the AASL standards in the National School Library Standards Crosswalk with ISTE Standards for Students and Educators (2018).

These are the ISTE Standards for students. To learn more about the specifics of each of these standards for students, please click the image to visit the ISTE website.

The Inquire and Explore foundations from the AASL standards regarding evaluating sources are also seen in the ISTE standards as Knowledge constructor, where students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge (International Society for Technology in Education, 2016). Utilizing social media and other digital resources is a great way to teach students to be analytical and evaluate any information they see, especially when using social media platforms that can become sources of misinformation.

I see the value of using the ISTE and AASL standards together to improve students’ critical thinking skills. With how much students rely on digital resources and engage with social media platforms, it is critical to help students connect the skills they use in the classroom to the resources they use on a daily basis. Learning how to examine social media posts for purpose and perspective is a skill that can be useful in showing students how to be critical of the information they find in their daily life. 


American Association of School Librarians. (2018). National school library standards crosswalk with ISTE standards for students and educators. https://standards.aasl.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/180828-aasl-standards-crosswalk-iste.pdf

American Association of School Librarians. (2018). National school library standards for learners, school librarians, and school libraries. https://standards.aasl.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/180206-AASL-framework-for-learners-2.pdf

International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). ISTE standards for students. https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students

Spiering, J. (2019). Engaging adolescent literacies with the standards. Knowledge Quest, 47(5), p. 44-49.

3 thoughts on “AASL and ISTE Standards from the Context of Adolescent Literacy

  1. Kasey,

    I think that you did a really great job of explaining the standards and their purpose within your post. I read Spiering’s article as well, but ended up not using it specifically for my blog post, but I thought that she made valid arguments of the importance of using the AASL standards to engage with adolescents. School librarians advocate for these adolescents to interact with texts and with these texts they can find ways to implement the standards to show growth, increase critical thinking, create, innovate, inquire and much more. Implementing the AASL and ISTE standards for adolescents is so much more than just teaching them because these standards will teach students how to be digitally responsible and become life long learners throughout the rest of their lives once instilled within them.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post!

    -Lindsay Weaver


  2. Hi, Kasey! I, too, used Dr. Spiering’s article to discuss the standards. I love how she brings up the importance of students’ experiences with literacy. As a former ELA teacher, I have had to find ways to incorporate the types of reading material students were familiar with to help them understand (or interpret) more traditional types of literature. As I read the article, graphic novels came to mind, and then Spiering mentioned them. I love that students get excited about graphic novels, and they certainly can force students to think analytically. I agree with you that we should use social media and other digital resources to help students recognize the purpose behind the message.
    (Katherine) Nicole Scott


  3. Critical thinking skills are so important no matter what students end up doing in life. I had not thought about these standards building critical thinking skills until you brought it up in your blog post. I currently teach high school social studies and I try to teach my students how to discern between what are reputable news sources and what are not. When I first started looking at these standards, I felt overwhelmed, but the more I looked at them, the more they made sense to me. They are specific enough to help librarians teach what is important for learners to know, but they are also broad enough to allow librarians to use professional judgment to determine what individual learners need.


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