Learning Ally Blog: Access and Achievement


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.

Audiobook Solution for Kids Who Struggle with Reading

September 11, 2023 by Learning Ally

Is your child struggling to read?

Reading is the key to learning success, but many children struggle to learn how to read during their younger years. Printed text can create obstacles for children with learning differences, like dyslexia, who find it challenging to learn how to decode words and comprehend meaning. This leads to falling behind in class, and a cycle of academic failure at a very young age.

Today 30 million students struggle to read, and one in five students has a learning disability. These children are often persistently slow in their rate of response to instruction, and struggle to read independently. In the fourth grade students are no longer learning to read, but are expected to have mastered the skill of reading. If reading deficits go unnoticed by fourth grade, over 65% of children will read below proficiency, unable to absorb complex texts.

What the science says about how the brain learns to read

A growing body of evidence suggests that developmental dyslexia might arise from impaired information processing, which is based on disruptive neural responses. Psychologist and Cognitive Neuroscientist, Stanislas Dehaene, PhD, is the Chair of Experimental Cognitive Psychology at the Collége de France in Paris, and directs the NeuroSpin center foremost in advanced brain imaging. Dehaene’s research investigates the neural bases of human cognitive functions such as reading, and language, with particular interest on the impact brain-based learning has in education.

Learning to read consists of recognizing letters and how they combine into written words, and then connecting them to the brain systems for coding of speech sounds and for meaning. According to Dr. Dehaene, reading starts in our brains like any other visual stimulation in the general visual areas of the brain, but quickly moves into an area of the brain that concerns the recognition of the written word. He calls this area the brain's "letter box" because it stores our knowledge of letters. From there, an explosion of activity happens in at least two important brain networks; one that concerns the meaning of words, and one that concerns the pronunciation and articulation of words. Dr. Dehaene says, “The beginning reader’s brain acts as a “super-computer” that needs to be fed with structured inputs, a well-designed curriculum, and explicit teaching of phonics and spelling.”

Breaking down barriers to reading

Learning Ally’s human-read audiobook solution is proven to double the rate of reading growth in just 50 days. It is a supplemental reading tool that empowers children and adolescents to become confident readers, effective communicators, and empathetic individuals. Access to books in digital format can reduce the stress and anxiety many struggling readers endure, especially those with dyslexia. Learning Ally has a dyslexia screening tool that will aid you in determining if your child has early reading difficulties. Your child may already qualify for Learning Ally if they have an Individual Education Plan.

The organization's digital audiobook library is filled with K-12 textbooks and culturally rich, age-appropriate, stories to assist children in reading about, and identifying with, their heritage, unique interests, and personal aspirations. Instead of frustration and angst for your child, this audiobook solution can pique their curiosity, imagination, and enthusiasm for a new world of learning, driven by their innate desire for knowledge, exploration, and self-awareness. As children enjoy best-sellers and receive the textbooks they need for school, they can improve their academic potential and social connections with classmates, teachers, and family. They feel part of their school community of good readers and participate in class.

Benefits of human-read audiobooks in support of struggling readers

Research tells us that children who listen to audiobooks can recall information more readily. Listening to audiobooks improves speaking accuracy and fluency, and access to anytime and anywhere reading independently.

Using the Learning Ally app, students have access to interactive learning tools geared to help them succeed in school, including:

  • highlighted text synced with audio narration
  • speed control
  • in-app dictionary
  • bookmarking, highlighting, and annotating features.

As children simultaneously see the words and hear text spoken with human-narration, their brains can better connect words to vocabulary, speech, and context. With human narration, a child can notice correct pronunciation, recognize and learn new words, get a flow of reading rate, pauses, stresses, and intonations – all skills crucial to ensure meaningful comprehension, and command over any language.

Becoming a member of Learning Ally will give you access to many important resources about dyslexia, the science of reading, and brain-based learning, while ensuring children discover the joy of reading, and receive equitable access to literature and textbooks, and popular titles.

First-time members pay just $99 a year. This is $36 less than the original subscription price of $135. Use this code: HOME99

Incorporating Learning Ally’s culturally relevant human-read audiobooks into literacy instruction improves reading outcomes, speaking accuracy, and critical thinking. You will be helping your child improve essential early language skills through better comprehension, while building social and emotional well-being and pride in their learning potential.

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Boost Literacy and Socio-Emotional Learning with the Power of Play

August 21, 2023 by Learning Ally

Playtime is more than just colorful toys scattered across your living room! In fact, there are many academic and socio-emotional benefits that come from children’s playtime.

Parents can unlock children’s full potential through play-based literacy instruction! By embracing the joyful nature of play and recognizing the importance of literacy and socio-emotional learning, you create an environment where learning is an exciting adventure.

Play, Literacy, and Socio-Emotional Learning

Child Learning At HomeLiteracy is like a key that unlocks a world of knowledge and success for our kids. But here's the best part—it's not just about reading words on a page. Literacy includes comprehension, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills. And guess what? Play-based learning is the secret ingredient to making it all click!

When we integrate play into literacy, we give our kids the chance to grow emotionally and socially (while also becoming reading superheroes!). Did you know that play is the natural language of children? It's how they explore, experiment, and understand the world around them.

Play-based learning takes kids’ innate curiosity and enthusiasm and transforms it into an engaging experience that boosts language development, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. It's like a magical journey of learning and fun!

4 Play-Based Literacy Activities

1. Alphabet Treasure Hunt

Create a thrilling alphabet treasure hunt by hiding objects or cards representing different letters around your home. Give your child a list of letters to find or clues related to each letter's sound or a word that starts with that letter.

Let the adventure begin!

2. Sensory Letter Play

Sensory Letter PlayEngage your child's senses by exploring the alphabet through sensory letter play. Fill a tray or container with sand, rice, or any sensory material. Bury alphabet magnets or foam letters in it and encourage your child to dig them out. Together, discover each letter, name it, make its sound, or think of words that start with it.

Enjoy a hands-on exploration that enhances their tactile skills!

3. Alphabet Obstacle Course

Turn learning the alphabet into an exciting physical adventure by creating an ABC obstacle course at home. Use colorful tape or chalk to form the letters of the alphabet on the floor, and let each letter represent a different station or activity.

For example, when your child reaches the letter "A," they can act like an alligator, and at the letter "B," they can pretend to be a bird.

Combine movement and letter recognition!

4. Letter Collage

Spark your child's creativity and reinforce letter recognition by creating a letter collage together. Provide magazines, newspapers, or colored paper and ask your child to search for pictures or words that start with a specific letter. Cut them out and help your child glue them onto a larger sheet of paper in the shape of the corresponding letter.

Enhance their fine motor skills and vocabulary!

Embracing the Joy of Play

Joy of PlayThrough play, your child becomes a confident reader, an effective communicator, and an empathetic individual. So, let's harness the magic of play and create a generation of lifelong learners who excel in academics and thrive emotionally and socially!

Remember, play is the secret ingredient that makes learning fun and effective. So, let the play begin, and watch your child soar to new heights of literacy and socio-emotional growth!

The Lingokids app provides a platform that harnesses the power of play, helping children thrive in learning a new language. Lingokids’ interactive learning universe immerses your child in a modern curriculum in English with an array of experiences that deliver learning through play. Most importantly, the app teaches literacy, along with other academic and life skills, through interactive games, quizzes, puzzles, digital books, videos, and songs—so engaging that kids don’t even realize they’re learning!

When children interact with Lingokids, they’re seamlessly blending play and learning in a way that is delightful and fun! Discover more activities, parenting support, and educational tools on the Lingokids blog!


Morin, A. (2021) Play-based activities that build reading readiness, Edutopia. Available at: https://www.edutopia.org/article/play-based-activities-build-reading-readiness/.

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Students with Disabilities Win 2023 National Achievement Award For Outstanding Academic and Personal Accomplishments
NAA winners.jpg

May 23, 2023 by Learning Ally

For Immediate Release:

May 23, 2023 - Princeton, NJ – Learning Ally, a national nonprofit working with U.S. schools and American families to improve equity and access to required textbooks and literature for students with print disabilities, has announced the winners of its 2023 National Achievement Awards. (NAA) 

Learning Ally is a leading literacy provider of accessible ‘human-read’ audiobooks and early literacy programs to accommodate eligible students in Pre-K to 12th grade. Accessible books enable students to study alongside their peers and achieve their highest academic potential through grade-level reading. 

Each year, Learning Ally recognizes a select group of high school and college-age students for exemplary academic achievement and personal growth in their classes and communities. 

Annual funding from generous donors and champions of literacy support the organization's development of innovative reading solutions for the classroom, professional learning and leadership programs to enrich educators' knowledge on reading best practices, and the ability to host teacher and student recognition programs.

This year’s student winners are: 

  • Allison Murphy, NY

  • Samuel Lombeh, TX

  • Skylar Adad, CA

  • Robert Welton, NJ

  • Ava Cocke, AL

  • Ylia Thumann, NJ

  • Jake Sporleder, CA

  • Tori Reese, CA

  • Katelyn Justice, KY