Welcome to Learning Ally’s blog. You've come to the right place if you are an innovative teacher who wants to transform more struggling readers into grade-level achievers.
October 29, 2020 by Learning Ally
For Immediate Release:
October 29, 2020 PRINCETON, NJ — Learning Ally, the nation’s leader in education technology solutions that supports literacy for all students on their path to becoming engaged and independent readers, has launched its new Professional Learning portfolio. This suite of courses, conferences, resources and community will empower educators to become literacy leaders through in depth learning on best practices in literacy instruction, how to maximize the benefits of the Learning Ally’s award-winning solutions, and new knowledge on the science of reading and learning engagement.
The Professional Learning portfolio is an essential component in Learning Ally’s mission to deliver literacy solutions, break through barriers to reading and improve academic outcomes for all learners, from early literacy through later literacy in middle and high school, in college and beyond.
“Professional Learning and support for educators is a key component to addressing America’s literacy problem,” said Andrew Friedman, CEO of Learning Ally. “There is an urgent need for in-depth professional learning on these methodologies so that fewer students will fall behind. Our collaboration with researchers and literacy experts has enabled us to learn and develop this outstanding portfolio. With this knowledge educators can make a significant impact on the lives of students who struggle to read.”
The Learning Ally Professional Learning series is based on the proprietary E3TM model, “Engaged, Empowered Educators,” for adult learning which emphasizes exploration, discovery, and practical classroom applications. Learning Ally master teachers and literacy coaches facilitate the courses in engaging and flexible learning environments to strengthen educators’ instructional capacity to better serve their students. Participants will work in applied learning scenarios and collaborative breakout sessions for in-depth problem solving in both virtual and in-person settings. The courses take advantage of dynamic interactive technology to ensure educators walk away with both knowledge and actionable plans.
Learning Ally also hosts the “Spotlight Learning Series” of virtual conferences. The “Spotlight on Dyslexia” virtual conference had over 9,000 registered educators in June and the “Spotlight on Early Literacy” event will launch in December. In addition, the conferences develop connected educator communities via webinars, events, and social media.
Educators are invited to participate in a dynamic educator community to continue to discuss trends in literacy, collaborate, share, and have important questions answered. The community is moderated by Learning Ally literacy experts and designed to bring together and nurture literacy leaders.
To become a literacy leader, request a catalog on the new Professional Learning Series by Learning Ally.
About Learning Ally
Learning Ally is a leading nonprofit education solutions organization 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 1.5 million students and 135,000 educators across the US. The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is our cornerstone award-winning reading accommodation used in approximately 18,500 schools to help students with reading deficits succeed. Composed of high quality, human-read audiobooks, and a suite of teacher resources to monitor and support student progress, it is designed to turn struggling readers into engaged learners. Visit www.learningally.org/educators. Call 800-221-1098.
Categories: dyslexia, Early Literacy, Educators, General, In the news, Press Releases
October 26, 2020 by Learning Ally
by Terrie Noland, C.A.L.P, VP of Educator Leadership and Learning
October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month and we have come a long way in helping students be successful in their learning process.
The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities. Secondary consequences may be difficulties with reading comprehension that can impede vocabulary and background knowledge.
Dyslexia affects 80 percent of all students identified as learning disabled, and may be a primary reason why so many students fall short of their academic goals.
The good news is that many educators now specialize in dyslexia and early literacy. They teach students new strategies to break through reading barriers. They encourage use of assistive technology and accessible content. They screen early to identify reading deficits and address “whole child” learning that is social, emotional, and motivational.
Students receive more time-on-task, are given multiple representations of materials and various ways to demonstrate knowledge. They understand their learning style. They are better equipped with grade-level, age-appropriate materials, not just leveled readers, and a quality reading accommodation.
Fortunately, there is also far less stereotyping of struggling readers as lazy or troublemakers, and more open discussions about learning challenges. Two books to dialogue with children are "The Fantastic Elastic Brain" and "The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes".
Research about dyslexia and brain activity are widely respected. There is more acceptance that using an audiobook is not cheating. Reading a book in print or listening to a book in audio are equivalent acts of learning. Two articles to read are, “To Your Brain, Listening to a Book is Pretty Much the Same as Reading It,” and “Are Audiobooks As Good For You As Reading?”
More teachers use a dual approach to reading instruction -- a structured literacy approach for students who need more instruction in decoding, and access to grade-level text to stimulate their cognitive processing to maintain academic pace with classmates.
This is where Learning Ally “human-read” audiobooks shine. Using this supplemental reading accommodation, students have access to curriculum and literature. They listen to skilled narrators enunciate words to hear how they clearly sound and how phonemes blend together to form words. Human-read audio improves comprehension and vocabulary. Students read more fluently. They gain background knowledge. This versatile, multisensory reading experience works well in all instructional settings to prevent learning loss and to accelerate learning -- in class, distance or hybrid environments.
Learning Ally has a well-stocked audiobook library of academic and popular titles, with different genres to engage students of varying cultures and interests.
In elementary school, “human-read” audiobooks can bring joy in reading, while strengthening vocabulary, reading habits and reading independence. This audio sample of authentic narration of Islandborn by Junot Diaz, showcases how human-read audiobooks can make a story come alive for children.
In middle school, students can use human-read audiobooks to comprehend complex information and develop critical thinking skills. This sample audio of authentic narration of Rebound, by Kwame Alexander, underscores the connections students can make with books they identify with. Accessible books can also improve a struggling reader’s learning confidence in high school to believe they can become high achievers.
Dyslexia never goes away. It should never define a learner, nor prohibit a learner from reaching their highest goals. Equitable access starts with books in print and accessible books on grade-level to learn in general or special education classes. The sooner schools can develop early detection processes with a balanced, structured literacy approach and the right resources and motivation, the sooner we can celebrate one of the greatest equalizers for students with learning differences.
This quote by Dr. Sally Shaywitz at the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity sums up the biggest gift we can give to students with dyslexia. “Dyslexia robs a person of time, but accommodations return that time to them.”
The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution levels the playing field for students who struggle to read. Sign up for a demo to experience the satisfaction of seeing students who have never experienced reading success improve their skills, grades, and confidence.
Categories: dyslexia, Education & Teaching, General
October 14, 2020 by Learning Ally
October 14, 2020 PRINCETON, NJ —The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution has won a 2020 Mom’s Choice Award earning the highest mark of distinction as a trusted resource for educators, students and families. The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) is a globally recognized U.S. based organization with a mission to establish the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services that demonstrate superior quality.
MCA evaluators are bound by a strict code of ethics which ensures expert and objective analysis are free from any manufacturer association. Over 85 million moms in the U.S. control 85% of all buying decisions and 76% of educators are mothers. When a product or service features the Mom’s Choice Awards seal, it establishes an instant rapport with moms and teachers of every generational and ethnic segment.
“During this pandemic, it is imperative that we help students catch up and keep reading,” said Terrie Noland, CALP, VP of Educator Initiatives at Learning Ally. ”This award is an affirmation that our audiobook solution is an optimal resource to support students in the classroom, in distance learning, or a hybrid learning environment.”
The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is an effective reading accommodation to ensure struggling readers in all grades K-12 receive equitable access to books they need for school and want to read for pleasure. With the largest ‘human-read audiobook library’ in the world, it includes access to a comprehensive, academic library of curriculum-aligned textbooks, literature, and popular titles to meet every age, grade, and intellectual level.
“Low reading ability is often the primary reason for students to struggle in school and it impacts their self confidence as well,” adds Noland. “Our audiobook solution can play a critical role in a struggling learners’ education to read on grade level, keep up with their peers and gain confidence and self esteem.”
In the United States, one in five students have a reading deficit. The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution supplements teachers’ direct instruction with access to grade-level books, while engaging students to build strong reading habits and skills and to read independently. Teachers and parents can use progress monitoring tools and data to gain insight into students’ reading needs and to personalize goals and/or instruction.
About Learning Ally
Learning Ally is a leading nonprofit education solutions organization 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 1.5 million students and 135,000 educators across the US. The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is our cornerstone award-winning reading accommodation used in approximately 19,000 schools to help students with reading deficits succeed. Composed of high quality, human-read audiobooks, and a suite of teacher resources to monitor and support student progress, it is designed to turn struggling readers into engaged learners.
Visit www.learningally.org/educators. Call 800-221-1098.
Categories: Assistive Technology, Audiobook Library, Awards, General, In the news, Press Releases
September 29, 2020 by Learning Ally
The aftermath of school closures during this pandemic, summer learning loss, and the new norms of distance or hybrid learning settings have widened barriers to reading successfully for struggling readers. You can turn this scenario around, recover learning loss and transform struggling readers into grade level achievers, by applying a hybrid or distance learning plan with a proven reading accommodation and content that is accessible.
Assigning human-narrated audiobooks provides equitable access to grade level content and bridges the gap between a student's reading ability and their cognitive capability. Learning Ally narrators are skilled voice artists who bring stories and curriculum, such as textbooks and literature, to life. Our solution gets students hooked on reading.
For younger students, build foundational skills to improve vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.
For older students, increase reading speed so that they can keep pace with peers on assignments and develop critical thinking skills.
For all students, enhance reading and learning confidence no matter what grade level.
And when your struggling readers are reading independently, teachers have increased capacity to focus on group instruction and keep the class moving forward.
During school closures this past Spring, educator Marlene Moyer of South Lake Tahoe School District, implemented the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution with great success. “This is the tool that allows students to be successful and to be connected to grade level content,” Marlene Moyer. Hear her story.
What else can you do using The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution?
With progress monitoring tools and professional development resources you can keep track of your students remotely and make certain that your teaching goals are met.
Review students’ reading progress, pages read, days read, frequency, and gain personal insight into reading interests and behaviors to develop individualized plans.
Report accountability using data and to document and celebrate reading success.
Learn with colleagues about the latest research and developments in the science of reading, dyslexia, early literacy and effective cognitive behavior learning approaches.
Reading failure leads to an underlying belief that a student is incapable of learning. Just like Ms. Moyer, you can prescribe Learning Ally Audiobooks to prevent or recover learning loss and jumpstart independent reading for your students.
Sign up for a demo, call 800-221-4792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Categories: Assistive Technology, Audiobook Library, Curriculum & Access, dyslexia, Early Literacy, Education & Teaching, Learning Ally “How-To Use”, Learning Disabilities, Reading Strategies for K-12, Student Centric Learning, The Digital Age
August 19, 2020 by Learning Ally
August 19, 2020 PRINCETON, NJ —Learning Ally, a leading nonprofit with a mission to transform the lives of the 30 million U.S. students who struggle to read, has appointed Missy Sherburne as its Chief of Growth and Strategic Partnerships.
Ms. Sherburne will report to Andrew Friedman, CEO and work closely with the Leadership Team at Learning Ally to advance the organization’s growth goals. With an expanded emphasis on early literacy and professional learning, Sherburne’s work will focus on national initiatives, cultivating new partnerships and developing strategies with a goal to expand Learning Ally’s impact in new markets, build investment in neuroscience research and support the development of needed new platforms. In doing so, Learning Ally will ensure that more educators have the support they need to help students of all ages and more students have the ability to read, learn and succeed.
Sherburne, a former teacher and leader within Teach For America, and mother of a child with dyslexia, has extensive experience working with public schools and corporate partnerships to enhance the use of education technology to impact positive student outcomes. She is a founding executive of DonorsChoose, a crowdfunding platform spotlighted by Fast Company as one of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. Her efforts helped to raise more than fifty million dollars with investors to purchase much-needed resources for public school classrooms. Sherburne also held a pivotal leadership role at Tinkergarten, an early childhood outdoor nature play and social impact startup to spearhead growth and expansion of revenue and B2B licensing models across the country.
“We are fortunate to have Missy on board,” said Andrew Friedman. “She has a deep understanding of the challenges in education and a passion for early learning and technology. With her leadership, we are on a path to double our impact, working with partners and investors who share a vision of reading for all.”
Learning Ally’s flagship product is the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution which serves struggling readers through schools and directly to households. It partners with renowned researchers at institutions like the University of California at San Francisco and MIT who develop groundbreaking solutions that allow for early identification of literacy challenges, as well as cognitive strengths and weaknesses of students. The organization also works with neuroscientists and educators to map student profiles to teaching best practices, and is recognized for its Spotlight on Dyslexia virtual conference which brings together educators, parents and dyslexia experts who advocate on behalf of students with learning disabilities. In 2018, the organization was honored with a Library of Congress Literacy Award for its outstanding achievements and innovative, research-based best practices to improve literacy worldwide.
Interested foundations, innovators and investors can contact Missy Sherburne at msherburne(at)learningally.org.
About Learning Ally
Learning Ally is a leading nonprofit education solutions organization 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 700,000 students and 135,000 educators across the US. The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is our cornerstone award-winning reading accommodation used in approximately 19,000 schools to help students with reading deficits succeed. Composed of high quality, human-read audiobooks, and a suite of teacher resources to monitor and support student progress, it is designed to turn struggling readers into engaged learners.
For more information on Learning Ally, and the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution, visit www.learningally.org/educators or call 800-221-1098.
Categories: General, In the news, Press Releases