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97% of Elementary Students with Dyslexia at The Academy at Nola Dunn Meet or Exceed STAAR Reading Requirements

Categories: Curriculum & Access, dyslexia, Education & Teaching, Learning Disabilities, Student Centric Learning, Teacher Best Practices

Ninety-seven percent (97%) of elementary students with dyslexia at The Academy at Nola Dunn, in Burleson, Texas, met or exceeded the STAAR reading requirements this year and placed third in The Great Reading Games, a national reading competition offered by Learning Ally.

Proud 5th graders gather in their school lobby holding their reading certificatesDana Blackaby, the Dyslexia Specialist who works with the children says, “Reading engagement is critical to keep my students motivated and building skills, especially those who hate to read and have little learning confidence.”

In her fifth grade classes, 100% of students with dyslexia met or exceeded the 2018 STAAR reading requirements with 60% demonstrating two years growth. The class also read more than 130,000 pages in just seven weeks during Learning Ally’s signature Great Reading Games, an engagement program incentivizing struggling readers to read frequently and compete for awards, prizes and recognition for them and their schools.

Learning Ally is an edtech nonprofit audiobook solution that supports educators who want to bridge the gap between students’ decoding ability and cognitive ability.

 “My students demonstrated significant improvements in reading comprehension and vocabulary skills,” says Blackaby, who also observed an increased level of reading engagement and a deeper desire to learn in her students. She attributes much of their success to the human-read stories in Learning Ally audiobooks with VOICEText enabling them to enjoy the content rather than struggle to decode every word.

A third grader read nearly 10,000 pages during the games to take his school to victory and win third place in the nation. Prior to participating in the competition, he tested at 40 wpm and now reads 61 wpm. “He was extremely proud of himself,” adds Blackaby, who encourages her struggling readers to choose audiobooks above their reading level and to talk with peers about the books they read.

In this video, a local Dallas news station interviewed Mrs. Blackaby, her principal, Lindsey Byrd, and students at The Academy at Nola Dunn about the competition and their reading successes. “Once you get them hooked on audiobooks, they feel strong and eager to read in class and at home,” says Blackaby. “Their efforts are reflected in their test scores and their learning confidence, and that is a win-win for everyone!”

About The Academy at Nola Dunn

The mission of The Academy at Nola Dunn, an innovative learning community, is to inspire and empower life-long learners by offering a brain-based environment and instruction including: experiential field trips, vertical and horizontal schedules, character focus and instruction, hands on learning, vertical teams and buddy classes, after school clubs, an Extended Day Program, and narrative report card.

About Learning Ally                                                      

Learning Ally is a leading nonprofit edtech organization delivering a comprehensive learning solution for struggling readers in elementary, middle and high schools. Our proven solution includes an extensive library of human-read audiobooks that students want and need to read, along with a suite of teacher-focused resources that ensure student success.

Learning Ally successfully partners with more than 15,000 U.S. schools, districts and leading state education systems across the country to empower over 375,000 students with improved comprehension, vocabulary, fluency and critical thinking skills. For over 70 years, the organization has helped to transform the lives of struggling readers by bridging the gap between their reading capability and their academic potential to become confident, lifelong learners who thrive in school and beyond.

Contact Learning Ally at 800-221-1098. Schedule a demo at





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