By guest blogger Mira S. Halpert, M.Ed, educator, author, founder of the hands-on learning program 3D Learner.
If you Can Read… You Can Learn Anything! I grew up with this statement, and truly believed it.
When our daughter was struggling with reading and we had tried YEARS of interventions, when her frustration was high, and her reading comprehension had not improved, a high school teacher, who I trusted, suggested we try audio books…in those years it was “books on tape”!!
This teacher had encouraged me to let my then high school daughter read what she wanted to. With some reluctance, I agreed to let her read a Danielle Steele romance novel. Probably not my first choice, but I was desperate to get my daughter to read and know what fun it could be. At that time, all of her friends were reading those books, and thinking back on it, they are VERY VISUAL. She could visualize everything that was happening!
Within a day, my daughter was hooked!
You can imagine my excitement when I walked into our living room and found our daughter curled up in a blanket, completely engaged and excited about READING! She was listening and following every word that was being read to her; completely attentive.
That was 22 years ago. From that moment on, she was hooked on reading. She reads a few books at a time now- and is a guiding light to her 5th grade students who say they don’t like to read.
I had many discussions with the head of the rather large County Library System administrator lamenting about why teachers “didn’t get” this amazing teaching tool. We spoke about trainings for teachers that unfortunately never materialized. Over the years, I would have every one of my students get “talking books” and register them on what was the “Reading for Blind and Dyslexic” (RFBD - before Learning Ally) and be sure that any IEP (Individual Education Plan) or 504 plan included that support. What a wonderful feeling to have students report how “fun” reading actually was!
Fast forward 22 years. Learning Ally is a ‘life-saver’ for so many students and there are many more formats available now. I’m happy to say that many more teachers are letting students use audio books, but I still have a lot of work to do convincing parents to get on board.
USING LEARNING ALLY IS READING
Especially, when students follow along with the text.
Not all children learn to read the same way or at the same rate. Many bright and creative students start to lose interest, become frustrated and want to quit. As parents, we want our kids to succeed and we get stuck on the belief that “reading is everything”.
The Act of Reading is complicated. Researchers have been studying this for decades - but our kids are whole beings and we need to be flexible to recognize our child’s abilities, especially with what new technology offers. Having kids have access to great stories to let them use their visualization skills and abilities to match oral language to the written work—like Learning Ally provides- can make all the difference. I urge parents to ‘change their picture’ of reading- and help their kids succeed.
Mira founded 3D Learner over twenty years ago, to help smart struggling students and their parents succeed. She can be reached at 561-361-7495, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more at https://www.3dlearner.com/.
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 370,000 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.