teacher helping student

Unlocking Student Potential Through Improved Literacy

What Drives Us

We believe all students should have equal opportunities to learn and succeed.

There’s a reason why we’re so passionate about literacy. After all, it is the foundation of learning. But a lot of students never stand a chance. 65% of fourth graders read below proficiency and are 400% more likely to drop-out of high school. And, for “most at risk” students (students of color, low income, English Language Learners and students with learning disabilities) the problem is even more acute.

Learning Ally seeks to break this cycle. With early student assessment, intervention and accommodations, we can identify and can help prevent learning issues and work with schools and educators to support new and struggling readers. Thus, building a strong foundation for independent, engaged learners who are empowered to achieve socially, emotionally and academically, regardless of background or learning difference.

Turning Tears to Triumph!

Over the course of our history, Learning Ally has touched millions of lives. Before Learning Ally, many of these children were frustrated and lacked faith in their abilities. Now, with the help of Learning Ally, these students are equipped with the educational tools they need to overcome their learning differences, succeed in school, and believe in themselves and their future!

Our Story

A Tradition of Serving those with Learning Differences

It all began with Anne T MacDonald, who in 1948 formed Recording for the Blind, to help soldiers who lost their sight in combat, continue their education, by recording textbooks on vinyl phonograph disks. In time, the service focused on students with learning differences, such as dyslexia. With extensive research, we expanded our offerings in order to help these students achieve their fullest potential. In 2011, the organization changed its name to Learning Ally, to better reflect our purpose and role in the education landscape. With our history and expertise, Learning Ally’s influence and impact now extends to nearly a half million students with learning differences, in schools and households around the country.

Innovation to Empower Educators

Championing a student centered approach, we transitioned from a library of human-read audiobooks to a mobile app and comprehensive solution, designed to surround struggling students with support and help educators and parents deliver student outcomes. Our solution touts all popular literature along with all the classics, textbooks and books for required reading. Additionally, we provide programming to help motivate students, a dashboard to monitor student progress and Professional Learning modules, including our Spotlight on Dyslexia Conference, to provide educators with all the support and training they need to be dynamic leaders in literacy.

Neuroscience Guides Focus on Early Literacy

With a continued commitment to supporting students who learn differently, Learning Ally leadership has joined researchers and neuroscientists from renowned institutions including UCSF and MIT, to better understand and address learning issues. Our enhanced understanding of brain development and neuroplasticity has guided our most recent initiatives recognizing the importance of early assessment and intervention. Learning Ally is proud to deliver significant developments to help children, parents and educators, with support, programs and accommodations to address the period of early childhood.

  • The Square Panda Literacy System is an award-winning, phonics-based, supplemental, early literacy program, that helps PreK-1st grade teachers manage students with diverse reading readiness. It offers a multisensory adaptive learning environment that can help prevent reading proficiency gaps before they even happen!
  • With UCSF’s newly developed digital app, APPRISE, Learning Ally will help bring neuroscience advancements to schools. This groundbreaking assessment “app” measures 15 key areas of learning to determine literacy readiness for students in PreK-1st grade. Results will be analyzed into profiles and educators will be provided with instruction and professional learning to respond to how each child learns best. We’re piloting this in schools in California in 2021, so that we can deliver it across the country by the following year.
  • To complete our early literacy offerings, Learning Ally is developing an audiobooks solution, specifically for early readers. This solution is designed to expose early readers to language and vocabulary, so that they can begin to develop key literacy skills as well as a better understanding of the world around them. With human narrated, high quality recordings, there will be books to engage all preschoolers. Stay tuned as Learning Ally shares more information about this important initiative.