What is the most important thing for a teacher to know about Learning Ally?
“It’s so manageable – your job as a teacher becomes easier because Learning Ally makes it simple to organize and track students’ reading,” according to special education teacher Allison Mitchell.
At South High School in Denver, Colorado, Allison is a special educator focusing on mild to moderate disabilities. As part of her many responsibilities, she helps students with visual impairments and dyslexia complete reading assignments.
“With Learning Ally, I can add book assignments and see my students’ progress, and I love that the audiobooks available for download match up exactly with the textbooks in my students' curriculum,” Allison says. “Many other programs out there require a lot of upkeep, so I appreciate how easy Learning Ally is to use. “The students like the functionality of the Learning Ally Audio app because they can easily find the chapter and page they need to read. Plus, they love that listening to the books on their phone or tablet doesn’t draw attention to them. They can have them on the bus on the way to sporting events and it just looks like they are listening to music when they are actually doing their reading assignment.”
Previously, Allison was purchasing CDs and spending hours trying to get her students access to audiobooks.
“It was a huge struggle before Learning Ally, and getting the audiobooks was very hit or miss," she explains. "We didn’t have textbooks on audio at all and the books we did have used a computerized voice, which the students found very distracting. They weren’t getting what they needed. With Learning Ally, they love that it is all real people reading in human voices.”
Katrina, a student with dyslexia at South High School, decided to purchase her own individual Learning Ally membership because she enjoyed the program so much and wanted to be able to take it to college with her.
“Katrina struggles with comprehending the text, which means it takes her a long time to read on her own," Allison says. "She heavily relies on Learning Ally to keep up with the reading and now she is much more comfortable in the classroom, because she doesn’t deal with the embarrassment of not having finished. She is now taking an advanced literature class – she’s a power user! She even helps my other students by showing them how to download Learning Ally books on their phones.
“As a teacher who has struggled to get students access to books – sometimes even sitting there reading to them myself – I’ve realized that it is just not manageable when you have several students needing help,” Allison continues. “With Learning Ally, it takes two seconds to get a student up and running. It’s not something you add to your plate as a teacher. It’s like you’re taking something off your plate. Your job as a teacher becomes easier. “Learning Ally gives students the opportunity to take courses they otherwise wouldn’t be able to – they can stretch themselves and we can lead them to independence and college or a successful career.”