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.
December 1, 2022 by Learning Ally
By: Guest Author: Andrea Gibbs
Reading fluency is essential for learning. Fluency in reading allows children to approach text with open minds and understand what they are reading. For some children, learning to read fluently will take the form of being able to read quietly on their own. For others, reading fluency must be developed using various tools and interventions. To boost your child's reading fluency, here are a few strategies that can engage your child in a variety of activities.
Model Good Fluency In Reading
Show them how to read with fluency. Set aside time each day to practice reading out loud to your child. It will not only give them insight into how fluent readers read, but it will give them opportunities to see what fluent reading looks like. This type of modeling is one of the most powerful ways to begin building fluency in your child, and since they probably see it as fun and engaging, they will be more likely to continue working on their reading skills on their own.
Guide Your Child To Track Words
When learning a language, it can be hard to understand where one word ends and the next word starts when listening to a fluent conversation. It can be especially true for children trying to follow along during story time. Tracking or running your finger under words as you read them can be helpful in this situation. You can track while reading to your child or ask them to track when they are reading aloud. When little ones are first learning to read, it is crucial for them to touch each word in order to understand the correspondence between spoken and written language. It is a strategy to help them improve. With time, they will be able to read bigger phrases without having to read each word separately. Equip your little one with plastic “figure fingers,” like small puppets to make tracking words more fun!
Emphasize Sight Words
You may notice that your little one struggles with words like “house” or “walk.” These are sight words. Sight words are common words that are not decodable by sounding them out phonetically. They often overlap with high-frequency words, which are those that frequently appear in children's text. If your child memorizes what these words look like and can recognize them instantly, they won't have to waste reading time trying to sound them out. You can turn teaching sight words into a fun game: Spell the sight words out with magnetic letters, write them on a piece of paper, or get a little crazy and splat the right word with a feather duster or fly swatter when you say it. It helps practice memorizing and gives a sense of accomplishment.
Bring In A Friendly Audience
Have your child read aloud to a favorite stuffed animal or a family member. It will encourage them to read fluently without fearing the consequences of making mistakes. You can also have them read their favorite story to pictures hanging on the wall or buy them a light-up book (for reading at bedtime). This way, they not only get familiar with reading aloud, but they will also be less inhibited. It is a wonderful way for your little one to develop self-confidence and get used to speaking and reading out loud, which is important for independent and effective communication in the future.
Enroll Children In Preschools
While beginning reading fluency is first nurtured at home, it is also fostered at school. It can be helpful for children to have a more formal education. There are many preschools that cater to developing literacy of young minds by providing specialized one-on-one attention and different activities geared toward specific literacy goals. Look for preschools that use products that supplement literacy curriculum, like Learning Ally's PreK-2 reading program, Excite Reading, which helps instructors and/or teachers who work in preschools and other early childhood education facilities to teach preschoolers and young readers to read more fluently, and comprehend what they read.
Andrea Gibbs is a blog contributor at Montessori Academy. She is dedicated to helping parents with the ins and outs of parenting children within the Montessori tradition. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and dog, Max.
About Learning Ally
Learning Ally is a leading education nonprofit dedicated to equipping educators with proven solutions that help new and struggling learners reach their potential. Our range of literacy-focused offerings for students in Pre-K to 12th grade and catalog of professional learning allows us to support more than two million students across the United States.
Learning Ally’s Audiobook Solution now serves more than 450,000 students in Grades 3-12.
The nonprofit hosts two thriving educator and parent communities.
We invite you to join us in our mission to ensure literacy for all children.
Categories: Activities, Audiobook Library, General, Parenting
August 8, 2022 by Learning Ally
As a mother of two, Allison Peck has worn many hats. When her oldest child was diagnosed with dyslexia, her career path took a sharp turn. Now, Peck is a licensed dyslexia specialist in the state of Texas, a certified academic language therapist, and a structured literacy dyslexia specialist.
As both a parent and a specialist, Peck brings a uniquely personal perspective to her field. This year, she shared her experience with the Learning Ally community at our digital conference “Spotlight on Dyslexia” (#SPOD22). “My goal is to share insights and resources that I found invaluable in my journey as an educator and a mom”.
Here are the top 10 tips she shared with us:
For more resources, as well as our full catalog of digital books, become a member and your child will access the only app specifically designed for students who struggle with reading.
By Michael Manzi
July 18, 2022 by Learning Ally
Learning isn't just for the classroom.
For many kids, after the summer bell rings, learning doesn’t happen at all.
Summer reading loss is steep -- especially for marginalized children and adolescents. Studies show that children lose significant knowledge in reading and math during summer break — approximately two months of reading skills and 2.6 months of math computational skills — which tends to have a snowball effect as they experience subsequent skill loss each year, leading to decreased reading and math proficiency.
Teachers also lose precious instruction time reteaching information students have already learned. Research shows that teachers may take an average of six weeks each year in the fall to reteach material that was forgotten over the summer.
Turn summer skills slide into summer reading pride
As a member of Learning Ally, students can participate in our Summer Reading Together program. We are in alignment with the Collaborative Summer Library Program and libraries across the country. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite stories to align with the 2022 Oceans of Possibilities summer reading theme. Check out these titles for Elementary School, Middle School, and High School.
It's easy to participate!
Teachers can assign audiobooks for students and students can select their own. There are downloadables and printables to make participation easy and to motivate students to read. You can use a template letter to describe the program to parents. There are certificates for reading, sample lesson plans, progress tracking calendars, and prizes!
This year, participants have fun art projects and you-tube videos inspired by the books and Ocean of Possibilities.
Recognition and Prizes
Each month, four winners are selected to win prizes. At the end of the summer, four overall winners will win big ($100 gift cards) for reading the most audiobooks across all three summer months, and for the most days they spent reading.
We get so excited to learn about the clever ways teachers and parents are motivating children to read, while building skills, and having fun!
Want to learn what other schools and districts are doing? Check out this awesome summer reading program of the East Orange School District in New Jersey.
Learn more about Learning Ally’s Summer Reading Together program!
Categories: Activities, Audiobook Library, Education & Teaching, General, Reading Champions, Students, Uncategorized
June 9, 2022 by Learning Ally
For Immediate Release
June 9, 2022 - Princeton, NJ – Learning Ally, a national nonprofit with a mission of “literacy for all” in U.S. schools, has announced the student winners of its 2022 National Achievement Awards.
The National Achievement Awards is a component of the organization’s Whole Child Literacy approach to ensure more students with reading deficits achieve mastery of critical literacy skills informed by the science of reading, cognitive and environmental factors, and social and emotional learning, with the support of Learning Ally’s seven-time award-winning Audiobook Solution. Each student recipient receives a $3,000 to $6,000 endowed scholarship named for two longtime advocates of the organization – Marion Huber and Mary P. Oenslager.
For more than 60 years, their families continue their legacy to provide financial support. The program rewards students in high school and higher education who overcame great obstacles to achieve extraordinary academic progress, promote self-advocacy, and provide community service to others.
Dr. Terrie Noland, Vice President of Learning Ally said, "Each year, we feel especially proud to honor these exemplary students, and to carry on the mission of the two women who saw a great need for education equity in schools long ago. Students selected for the National Achievement Awards are exceptional role models. They clearly demonstrate extraordinary achievements given the right skills, resources, and emotional fortitude. They lift us up, and reshape our expectations of what students with learning challenges can and will achieve.”
Recipients of the 2022 Marion Huber Learning Through Listening Award (LTL):
Thomas J. Rayburn, Madison, AL
Ella Doerr, Avon, NC
Samantha Bachofen, Waterford, WI
May Hopkins, Oakland, CA
Recipient of the 2022 Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Award (SAA):
Tatiana Clautaire, Spring Valley, NY
Winners of this award are selected by an esteemed National Selection Committee who are champions of student success. To learn more about each winner, visit learningally.org/naa.
Educators and parents working with high school students with blindness or visual impairments or learning disabilities who graduate in the years of 2021-2023 and first-year college students can review the application process for student members who meet eligibility criteria.
About Learning Ally
Learning Ally is a leading education nonprofit dedicated to equipping educators with proven solutions that help new and struggling learners reach their potential. Our range of literacy-focused offerings for students in Pre-K to 12th grade and catalog of professional learning allows us to support more than 1.6 million students and 260,000 educators through our solutions and community, across the United States.
Categories: Blind or Visually Impaired, General, In the News, Learning Disabilities, National Achievement Awards, Press Releases, Reading Champions, Students
May 13, 2022 by Learning Ally
On Sunday, May 15 and Monday, May 16, a lunar eclipse will occur. This astronomical phenomenon occurs when the sun, Earth, and moon line up properly for the moon to pass into the Earth's shadow. Roughly three times a year, the moon passes through at least part of the Earth's shadow.
Because our moon's orbit is tilted, lunar eclipses do not occur every time the moon makes its monthly trek around our planet. It can only happen during a full moon, so we are likely to experience it just twice a year.
To catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse and "blood moon," you'll have to stay awake late into the night and early morning. The term "blood moon" is used by many astronomy experts and writers to describe the rusty orange or reddish color glow the moon becomes from the light reflecting from the sun.
Learning Ally has many enjoyable and informative audiobooks about the sky, the sun, astronomy, and our universe. Search on a specific category or use keywords to find titles that will interest learners of any age in our Browse Audiobooks section.
For additional resources, PBS has excellent videos to demonstrate the mechanics of lunar eclipses to view and engage students with visualizations that show the alignment of the Moon, the Sun, and Earth from multiple perspectives.
Happy sky watching!
Categories: Activities, Audiobook Library, Parenting, Reading Champions, Students