Learning Ally Blog: Access and Achievement

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Now more than ever, people with learning and visual disabilities are flourishing in the classroom, launching productive careers and becoming assets in their communities. This blog spotlights remarkable individuals who demonstrate that having a visual or print disability is no barrier to educational success.


Learning Ally’s “Science of Reading Engagement” Emphasizes Education Gamification Best Practices to Build Stronger Reading Habits in Struggling Learners
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January 23, 2018 by Jhara Navalo

The lack of reading proficiency in the U.S. is prompting more educators to explore innovative ways to strengthen the reading habits of struggling learners. Learning Ally has developed a set of education gamification best practices to help to define the “Science of Reading Engagement,” and to demonstrate its effectiveness in U.S. schools through its annual reading competition -- The Great Reading Games.  


January 22, 2018 - Princeton, NJ

Students with CertificatesAs more K-12 educators search for proven ways to bridge the reading achievement gap for students of all ages, Learning Ally Labs, a division of Learning Ally, is using meta-data analysis and education gamification to define the “Science of Reading Engagement.”

Learning Ally is an ed-tech nonprofit working with 13,000 U.S. schools and districts to support students who may display high intellectual potential but lack the ability to read and comprehend grade-level text due to a learning disability, like dyslexia.

An intervention, such as a reading accommodation using human-read audiobooks designed for a school environment, can make a significant difference for these learners to build stronger reading habits, such as reading stamina and fluency, and to strengthen comprehension, critical thinking, and vocabulary skills.

The Great Reading Games, Learning Ally’s signature reading competition, is popular among K-12 teachers who are curious about using education gamification to unlock a child's full reading potential.

Last year, 1200 U.S. schools participated in the competition with over 17,000 students reading more than 5.3 million pages. Over 7 weeks, students were three times more likely to excel in reading frequency and 300% more likely to achieve levels of reading success that ties directly with students’ academic, emotional, and social behavior.

Jeff-HoJeffrey Ho, VP of Learning Ally New Product Development says, “Through data analysis, intertwined with classroom observations, and teacher input, we know that educators are constantly looking for ways to engage their students through new and innovative experiences. We have structured The Great Reading Games to help them achieve that through the integration of education gamification best practices proven to motivate students to read more books.”

 

The structure of the Great Reading Games include:

  • A clear explanation of the rules such as how students accrue points by reading books in a fair and consistent manner.
  • A visual leaderboard highlighting student performance motivating them to read frequently and to ignite a passion for reading.
  • The ability for teachers to uncover deeper emotional attitudes that their students have toward themselves as learners and to personalize student’s goals by applying this insight toward systemic classroom learning.
  • Rewards and prizes for students and teachers and recognition for their school.

Teachers who saw the greatest impact on students’ reading habits integrated the Great Reading Games directly into their class instruction, rather than in isolation of the school learning environment.

One teacher shared, “My seventh grader was practically in tears after finishing his first book EVER. This is when you realize you just received the biggest prize of all.”

Penny Moldofsky, a middle school teacher at Woodlynde School in Pennsylvania said, “This competition has motivated more than 90 of my students to access books and to enjoy a positive, comfortable, and enlightening reading experience.”

These are the types of positive outcomes our organization expects to achieve in all aspects of our reading solution, adds Mr. Ho.

This year, Learning Ally will continue to share its research findings on the Science of Reading Engagement with K-12 educators and administrators. At the 2018 Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC), Andrew Friedman, CEO and President of Learning Ally will participate in a discussion panel, "How Ed Tech Can Fill the LD Gaps,” on Thursday, January 25 at 10:00 am in South 331 CD-Orange County Convention Center.

For more information, call 800-221-1098 or visit www.learningally.org/educators.


About Learning Ally                                             

Learning Ally is a leading nonprofit ed-tech organization delivering a comprehensive learning solution for struggling readers in elementary, middle and high schools. Our proven solution includes an extensive library of human-read audiobooks that students want and need to read at home and at school, along with a suite of teacher-focused resources that ensure student success. This reading experience helps accelerate learning, enables a new level of access to knowledge and powerfully increases confidence and self-belief.

Learning Ally successfully partners with more than 13,000 U.S. schools, districts and leading state education systems across the country to empower over 240,000 students with improved comprehension, vocabulary, fluency and critical thinking skills. For over 70 years, the organization has helped to transform the lives of struggling readers by bridging the gap between their reading capability and their academic potential to become confident, lifelong learners who thrive in school and beyond.

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Bat Mitzvah Project: Raising awareness for students with dyslexia
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January 16, 2018 by Jhara Navalo

The Goslin FamilyJessie G., a 12-year-old has dyslexia and she has made it her mission to educate others about her difficulties with reading and spelling. She works hard every day to succeed in school, many times studying twice as hard as her peers.  In fact, her teachers marvel at her solid work ethic. 

Jessie views dyslexia as a gift.  Due to the fact that she thinks a little differently, dyslexia has afforded her the creativity to act, sing, dance, play the bass guitar and write her own songs.

Jessie loves all things music and Broadway!  She has been acting since the age of 6 and is serious about her craft.  Along with Leggings for a Reason, Jessie is excited to have inspired the design for comfy and fun leggings that reflect who she is and what she hopes to achieve in life!  Leggings for a Reason

Jessie is committed to raising social awareness for We're all made of stars, we're all made of dreams" Jessie's leggings have a cute musical theme and they feature her favorite quote from Finding Neverland. 

In partnership with Leggings for a Reason, Jessie will donate 100% of profits from the sale of these leggings to Learning Ally for her Mitzvah project, a meaningful, good deed Jessie has chosen as part of her journey towards becoming a Bat Mitzvah in March of 2018.

Support Jessie's dream and Bat Mitzvah project and purchase leggings that will inspire the dancer in your child.

Leggings for a reason logo


Are you doing extraordinary things in support of students who struggle to read? Send us an email at allkidscanread@learningally.org and we'll help to spread the word.


About Learning Ally

Learning Ally is a leading nonprofit ed-tech organization delivering a comprehensive learning solution for struggling readers in elementary, middle and high schools. Our proven solution includes the most extensive library of human-read audiobooks that students want and need to read both at home and at school. This reading experience helps accelerate learning, enables a new level of access to knowledge and powerfully increases confidence and self-belief.

Learning Ally empowers over 240,000 students with improved comprehension, vocabulary, fluency and critical thinking skills. For over 70 years, we have helped transform the lives of struggling readers by bridging the gap between their reading capability and their academic potential as they confidently become lifelong learners who thrive in school and beyond.

Learn More About Becoming a Learning Ally Member

 

Read More about Bat Mitzvah Project: Raising awareness for students with dyslexia

Great Reading Games vs. Winter Olympics
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January 16, 2018 by Jenny Falke

Learning Ally's Great Reading Games will end just before the 2018 Winter Olympics. Olympians and audiobook readers alike will go after the gold over the next two months and we've taken inventory of all the interesting facts and details. How does Learning Ally’s Great Reading Games, where schools read to succeed, compare to the 2018 Winter Olympics?

  Olympics Great Reading Games
Place PyeongChang, South Korea All over the United States
Dates February 9-25, 2018 January 8th – February 23rd , 2018
Awards A record 102 medals will be awarded in 15 disciplines. 300 welcome kits were mailed out containing thousands of individual motivation trinkets for students.
13 schools will receive gift cards, headphones, Chromebooks, prize packs and more.
10 students will receive top honors and prizes.
Certificates are available for EVERY student competing in the games.
Participation A total of 89 teams have qualified at least one athlete so far.
An expected 2900+ athletes will be competing.
School Goal: 1500 schools participating
Student Goal: 20,000 students reading
Pages Read Goal: 6,000,000
Fact 1: Interesting Rule The NHL announces no break in the 2017-2018 schedule for participation in the PyeongChang Games. Players part of NHL teams will not be allowed to participate in the games. ALL students in a school membership that qualify for Learning Ally can participate in the games.
Fact 2: The Beginning October 31st, 2017 - The flame arrives in the Republic of Korea, 100 days before the Games are scheduled to begin. November 16th, 2017 - Early sign up begins.
Fact 3: Awards The Olympics is in the business of giving awards. The Great Reading Games is not only in the business of giving awards but the games have been recognized for an innovation in reading honor as well.
Fact 4: Participants From 1912-1948, artists participated in the Olympics: Painters, sculptors, architects, writers, and musicians competed for medals in their respective fields. Watch this video to see the aspiring  painters, sculptors, architects, writers,  musicians, athletes, actors, engineers, educators, service professionals and MORE that will be able to compete in life because of access to learning.
Fact 5: Celebrities The following celebrities have competed in the Olympics: Dolph Lundgren (breakout role in Rocky IV),  Hillary Wolf (sister in Home Alone), Bob Anderson (stuntman for Star Wars), Jason Statham, Geena Davis, Johnny Weissmuller (original Tarzan). The following authors/celebrities have supported the Great Reading Games: Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Lauren Tarshis (I Survived), Robert Beatty (Serafina), Malcolm Mitchell (SuperBowl Champion).

 

Download a printable PDF of the GRG18 and 2018 Olympics comparison. Cheer on the readers with #GRG18 on Twitter and Instagram.

Sign up or view the leaderboad at LearningAlly.org/GreatReadingGames.


Bring Learning Ally's Proven Ed-Tech Solution to Your School

Learning Ally is a cost-effective solution to help your students who read below grade level boost their vocabulary, comprehension and test scores. Our extensive library of human-read audiobooks includes core content, is easy to set up, and fits into your existing curriculum.

Learn how you can transform the lives of your struggling readers. Sign up for a demo, call 800-221-1098, or email programs@LearningAlly.org.

 

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Coffee and Learning Ally Audiobooks
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January 15, 2018 by Jhara Navalo

 

By guest blogger, Anthony Anastacio of Anthony's Italian Coffee and Chocolate House

Anthony Anastacio and FamilyWe are inspired by the resilience and determination of our 10-year-old daughter who has successfully learned to read using Learning Ally’s educational solutions.  Despite being diagnosed with dyslexia in kindergarten, our daughter struggled with learning to read by being taught with ineffective reading programs in school for years. After receiving the proper programs, with the proper implementation and consistent classroom accommodations, our daughter has overcome dyslexia, learning to successfully read, just like many other children with dyslexia when given the proper tools. Yet many simply are not afforded that opportunity.  

As a father, it hurt so much to see my very smart child struggle to read.  My wife and I  did everything we could to help our daughter reach her educational goals.   We really felt like no one was listening to us, as we watched her falling through the cracks of a failing educational system. That is when we took matters into our own hands. My wife and I decided to move our child out of public school and into a Catholic school that used different learning styles to accommodate every child’s learning needs.   We also discovered Learning Ally educational tools and resources and now we can’t get our daughter to stop reading. We truly are grateful for Learning Ally and now we see our daughter reading, learning, and socializing regarding the books she's reading in class.  Her self-esteem and confidence levels have increased significantly since using Learning Ally and we really couldn’t ask for a better feeling. 

Image of the Italian Coffee House ChocolatesAs a small business owner, my wife and I thought maybe we can help give back to an organization that has done so much for our family.  As most of you know dyslexia is the #1 learning disability in our schools, impacting nearly 20% of our students.  Yet many students continue to be misidentified and misdiagnosed because dyslexia is misunderstood still today. We now know that students can overcome dyslexia with the proper reading programs and classroom accommodations.  With 1 in 5, odds are you or someone you know has dyslexia...they're our children, our family and our friends. The mind of people with dyslexia are the most creative and innovative and they are often the hardest working, most resilient people you know.  Children with dyslexia have inspired us to create the Coffee for a Cause campaign.  A campaign honoring and supporting even more students struggling with dyslexia to read using Learning Ally educational tools and services.
  
Our 2018 Goal is to raise $13,500 for 100 children who are dyslexic, to gain access to Learning Ally’s audiobook solution for one full year.  We created a special coffee blend for 2018, Caffe di Causa, a full-bodied coffee, yet smooth with finishing notes of dark chocolate and roasted nuts.  This coffee is symbolic of the Inca Empire, whose people devised unconventional ways to achieve success and thrive, despite lacking many of the tools associated with civilization during that time period.
 
Sales from this Coffee Blend will benefit Children with Dyslexia, who are often denied the specific tools in learning to read, yet find ways to achieve success.  Approx. $2.35 from the sale of each pound will be donated to Learning Ally.  If you prefer to support our fundraiser and get us to our goal even faster, please make your best gift today!
 


Are you doing extraordinary things in support of students who struggle to read? Send us an email at allkidscanread@learningally.org and we'll help to spread the word.


About Learning Ally

Learning Ally is a leading nonprofit ed-tech organization delivering a comprehensive learning solution for struggling readers in elementary, middle and high schools. Our proven solution includes the most extensive library of human-read audiobooks that students want and need to read both at home and at school. This reading experience helps accelerate learning, enables a new level of access to knowledge and powerfully increases confidence and self-belief.

Learning Ally empowers over 240,000 students with improved comprehension, vocabulary, fluency and critical thinking skills. For over 70 years, we have helped transform the lives of struggling readers by bridging the gap between their reading capability and their academic potential as they confidently become lifelong learners who thrive in school and beyond.

Learn More About Becoming a Learning Ally Member

 

Read More about Coffee and Learning Ally Audiobooks

2017 Lone Star Reading List
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January 12, 2018 by Jenny Falke

Learning Ally is thrilled to provide in our human-read audiobook library this list of highly renowned titles by school and public librarians. This list was created with students in middle grades in mind, but many other age levels, besides just teens, will enjoy them! The following are just a handful of the first round of books completed from the 2017 Lone Star Reading List.


The Magic MirrorThe Magic Mirror : Concerning a Lonely Princess, a Foundling Girl, a Scheming King and a Pickpocket Squirrel
by Susan Hill Long
Grades 3-7 | 800L

The twisty-turny journey of a girl searching for her heart's desire glimpsed in a magic mirror.



Choosing CourageChoosing Courage : Inspiring Stories of What It Means to Be a Hero
by Peter Collier
Grades 4-8 | 1150L

How does an ordinary person become a hero? It happens in a split second, a moment of focus and clarity, when a choice is made. Here are the gripping accounts of Medal of Honor recipients.


Love and GelatoLove and Gelato
by Jenny Evans Welch
Grade 7+ | 640L

A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this New York Times bestselling debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.


Longbow GirlLongbow Girl
by Linda Davies
Grades 7-9 | 700L

Set in the wilds of the Welsh mountains, the brave and beautiful longbow girl, Merry Owen, discovers a river that takes her back in time to the autocratic kingdom of King Henry VIII.


Zero DayZero Day
by Jan Gangsei
Grades 7-12 | 680L

Eight years ago, Addie Webster was the victim of the most notorious kidnapping of the decade. Addie is brought back into her family's fold... but who is this sixteen-year-old girl with a quiet, burning intelligence now living in the White House?


The Lone Star Reading List is curated by school and public librarians who are part of the Young Adult Round Table in the Texas Library Association and the 2017 and 2016 titles are made available to Learning Ally readers through the generous support of the Reading Resource Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas.


Bring Learning Ally's Proven Ed-Tech Solution to Your School

Learning Ally is a cost-effective solution to help your students who read below grade level boost their vocabulary, comprehension and test scores. Our extensive library of human-read audiobooks includes core content, is easy to set up, and fits into your existing curriculum.

Learn how you can transform the lives of your struggling readers. Sign up for a demo, call 800-221-1098, or email programs@LearningAlly.org Public and charter Texas schools, visit: LearningAlly.org/Texas.

Read More about 2017 Lone Star Reading List

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