K-12 | Read to Achieve

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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.


Learning Ally’s Spotlight on Dyslexia Conference Delivers Impactful Professional Learning for Educators in a 100% Virtual Setting
Spotlight on Dyslexia Conference

May 13, 2020 by Learning Ally

For Immediate Release:

PRINCETON, NJ, May 13, 2020 – Learning Ally, along with partner, edWeb.net, will be hosting their 5th Spotlight on Dyslexia Virtual Conference on Friday, June 5, 2020, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM ET. Designed for educators of all levels, Spotlight on Dyslexia brings 16 world-class experts in the fields of dyslexia, literacy and neuroscience to share new research, strategies and insights for identifying and supporting students with dyslexia. Participants can earn up to 16 continuing education certifications by participating live or on-demand through September 30, 2020.

The conference sessions will focus on the impact of early intervention to put students with dyslexia on the path to success, instructional strategies to help these students achieve their academic potential, and how research-driven technology and tools can boost classroom effectiveness.

There will be two keynote addresses. At 9:00 AM ET, Emily Hanford, Senior Correspondent of APM Reports, will present Discovering the Reading Science; at 12:00 PM ET, Dr. Anita Archer, a nationally acclaimed education expert, will present The Science of Reading Meets the Science of Learning.

Due to the disruption in education over the past few months, Spotlight on Dyslexia is an essential resource to equip educators with evidence-based resources to help them reduce student learning loss. “This year, the conference is more important than ever,” said Terrie Noland, VP of Educator Initiatives at Learning Ally. “The students we serve are most at risk for falling through the cracks and teachers will need new and improved methods to compensate for the ‘COVID slide’ and be prepared for additional school changes related to COVID-19 circumstances.”

The live conference is delivered on a state-of-the-art virtual platform that provides attendees a truly unique learning experience by allowing them to directly interact and engage with presenters. Participants can earn up to 16 continuing education certificates, by participating in the live event or recorded sessions, which are available on-demand until September 30, 2020, provided through our partner, edWeb.net. Spotlight on Dyslexia is IMSLEC© accredited and will accept continuing education hours approved by ALTA. Hours will also count towards Wilson Language Training certification.  

This year, Learning Ally is providing attendees additional opportunities to learn, with ongoing virtual discussions that will be held throughout the year, along with access to exclusive social communities. Mrs. Noland said, “We felt it was important to ensure knowledge turns into practice, particularly in light of the challenging situation we are all facing due to COVID-19. Our goal is to make sure educators are better equipped to meet the challenges they are sure to face in the fall.”

Spotlight on Dyslexia Virtual Conference is $99. Content will be available on-demand through September 30, 2020. Register now.

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 Pre-K to 12th grade and catalog of professional learning allow us to support more than 99,000 educators across the US. The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is our cornerstone award-winning reading accommodation used in more than 17,500 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. 
 
About Emily Hanford
Ms. Hanford is a senior correspondent and producer for APM Reports, the documentary and investigative journalism group at American Public Media. She’s been covering education for more than a decade. Her work has appeared on NPR and in The New York Times, Washington Monthly, Los Angeles Times, PBS NewsHour and other publications. Her 2018 podcast and article “Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read?” brought mainstream media attention to the importance of teacher knowledge about the science of reading and won a public service award from the Education Writers Association. 

About Dr. Anita Archer
Dr. Archer serves as an educational consultant to state departments, county agencies, and school districts on explicit instruction and literacy instruction. She has taught elementary and middle school students and is the recipient of ten Outstanding Educator awards. Dr. Archer has served on the faculties of San Diego State University, the University of Washington, and the University of Oregon. She is internationally known for her presentations and publications on instructional procedures and literacy instruction, and has co-authored numerous curriculum materials, including the REWARDS reading and writing intervention programs, as well as a textbook on explicit instruction. 
 

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At-Risk Students Given Free Access to Essential Education Solutions
Student Working at Home

April 16, 2020 by Learning Ally

Princeton, NJ April 16, 2020 - Learning Ally, a not-for-profit and leading education solutions organization serving emerging and struggling learners, is responding to the COVID-19 crisis with a relief program to schools across the country. The program includes the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution that helps students with reading deficits, a Distance Learning Resource Site for both educators and parents, and the Square Panda School to Home Engagement Program for emerging readers. The program offers complimentary access to these proven literacy development solutions effective immediately through August 1st, helping to keep students reading in this crisis and providing a platform that educators nationwide can consider as a component for ensuring distance learning literacy progress, continuity, and equity in the future.

Learning Ally aims to get and keep students reading, engaged, and learning from home as long as school closures continue and through the summer and beyond. Whether they are at-risk PreK-1st graders or students already diagnosed with reading-based learning differences like dyslexia, these students have tremendous educational challenges in traditional school settings and conditions. Now, they are even more at risk of "slipping through the cracks." Statistics show that for these students, falling behind can have dire consequences. Distance learning puts additional burdens on these students and on the educators and parents that support them.

Learning Ally's COVID-19 Relief Program aims to assist an additional 500,000 students and 30,000 educators with a suite of solutions and resources that support distance learning:

  • The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is the largest library of human-read audiobooks designed for students with reading deficits. Our library includes popular fiction, classics and textbooks - all the books students want and need to read for school and aligned to school curriculum, K-12. The solution's human-voice to highlighted text enables students to read to their cognitive ability, read independently and become engaged learners.
  • The Distance Learning Resource Site contains a collection of literacy-based activities and professional learning opportunities, including webinars for educators and content in multiple formats for parents to assist their children while learning from home.
  • The Square Panda School to Home Engagement Program offers a multi-sensory literacy system for PreK-1 learners at home, designed to build critical foundational literacy skills with adaptive phonics instruction that guides students to work independently at home with very little parent supervision.

Learning Ally solutions are designed for "anywhere access" on personal devices, and are well suited to serve as a distance learning solution, especially under these difficult circumstances.

"Learning Ally solutions have always represented the critical difference between isolation and integration, between frustration and pride, and between struggle and success," said Andrew Friedman, Learning Ally CEO and President. "We have a key role to play while schools are closed, to ensure at-risk learners, educators and families are supported in their continued efforts around reading, learning and succeeding."

In the few weeks since Learning Ally made the announcement, there has been an enthusiastic response. Learning Ally staff are mobilized to help schools onboard and have already expanded services to nearly 100,000 schools across the country.

For more information please visit www.learningally.org or call 1-800-221-1098.


Support Your Students with Reading Deficits with the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution

The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is a multi-sensory reading accommodation that levels the playing field for students who struggle to read due to a reading deficit, providing them the opportunity achieve in school and in life. Gaining access to the books they want to read—and the books they need to read—in an easy-to-absorb format can be a game changer. Sign up for a demo or get more information today to experience the satisfaction of seeing students who have never before experienced reading success blossom, with improved grades, higher test scores and increased confidence and self-esteem.

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Keep Your Children Engaged with Learning Ally's Free Resources and Activities
Parent and Student

April 10, 2020 by Learning Ally

In our best moments as humans, we offer our strengths to our neighbors. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, people around the world have used their skills to lighten the load of others. At Learning Ally, what we do best is enabling and encouraging children to read. In an effort to share what we have with you (in addition to offering our library of human-read audiobooks with schools for eligible students for free through August 1st), we're proud to share a catalog of home-based distance learning activities to encourage reading during these unprecedented times.

The activities in the catalog are free to use, and can be used by any child, whether they use Learning Ally Audiobooks Solution or access to texts in some other way. Activities are available for students in preschool all the way through high school, and can be customized by teachers or families to meet the needs of their unique children. Each activity seeks to engage learners in reading and help them to find books they love, especially ones that focus on the resilience of humans, and the love and care of our neighbors. Now more than ever, it is important for children to see their strength and tenacity reflected in literature, and we've structured many of our activities to focus on just that.

We know that children thrive on routine, and that your children are dealing with tremendous amounts of change and upheaval. We also know that teachers and families are working around the clock to try and maintain some sense of normalcy in spite of monumental challenges. It is hard, but crucial work. We see you, and we deeply value all that you are doing. In trying times, it is always a comfort to escape into a good book -- we hope that we at Learning Ally can help your child to find that comfort as we all navigate this new educational landscape.

Click here to get started. 

Resources Screenshot


Support Your Students with Reading Deficits with the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution

The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is a multi-sensory reading accommodation that levels the playing field for students who struggle to read due to a reading deficit, providing them the opportunity achieve in school and in life. Gaining access to the books they want to read—and the books they need to read—in an easy-to-absorb format can be a game changer. Sign up for a demo or get more information today to experience the satisfaction of seeing students who have never before experienced reading success blossom, with improved grades, higher test scores and increased confidence and self-esteem.

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Staying Connected While Disconnected
educator on laptop

March 25, 2020 by Julie Heaton

As we navigate this new normal of being distant, but together, it is essential we continue the powerful connections we make with our students and colleagues. Books are the bridge, allowing us to preserve our community and connection through reading.

The Teacher and Student Connection

Want your students to know you are thinking of them? Send them a personalized book recommendation! Through the Educator Portal you have the ability to add a book directly to a student's bookshelf. Students who are using an iOS or Android device receive a push notification (opt-in only) to let them know that a new book was added. Think of how excited your students would be to know you remembered they really loved cars, and have added a book recommendation accordingly! Want guidance on how to access a book? Watch this short video. 

One of the greatest joys of teaching is having a shared experience around a story, hearing a student's predictions of what will come next, a connection to a character, or simply learning a new word they discovered. Within the Learning Ally Audiobook App students are able to bookmark portions of text, look up words in the dictionary, and make citations, reactions or questions through the notetaking feature. Students can email their vocabulary list, bookmarks, and other notes to a teacher, parent, or fellow student (with a valid email address). Students can also download their notes and share them as needed. Hear from a student on how to maximize their Audiobook App experience. If you need additional guidance on getting started with the Audiobook App, visit our Getting Started Guide, available in English/Spanish. 

Educators need access to information that can help answer the ongoing question of, "how are my students doing?" Educators can utilize the Learning Ally Educator Portal Dashboard to see a snapshot of class progress, having access to up-to-date data which shows Reading With Frequency, pages read, days read, and time spent reading. Educators can also gain insight into the reading progress of the individual student as well by accessing the individual student report. This report indicates which books are currently on a student's bookshelf, when it was added, who it was added by, and the number of pages read within each book. This individual student report gives insight into a student's reading habits and preferences, allowing a teacher to see if a student is continuing to read while apart. This video gives guidance on how to navigate the Educator Portal. 

How Can Educators Stay Connected with Each Other? 

For educators, this is an unprecedented time in their teaching careers and a support network of colleagues will help navigate these uncharted waters. Learning Ally is here to guide you in connecting with your network of colleagues and peers through the following channels:

  • Facebook: Our Facebook Group, "Learning Ally: Educators Reading and Succeeding". This community will help educators share and grow their knowledge about PreK-12 reading instruction that is embedded in research and evidence-based practices. The goal of the group is to make each other better, grow and learn every day and make monumental changes in the lives of our students.
  • Twitter: Follow Terrie Noland for daily (brief) videos to help you stay motivated and engaged during this time of transition.

 


Support Your Students with Reading Deficits with the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution

The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is a multi-sensory reading accommodation that levels the playing field for students who struggle to read due to a reading deficit, providing them the opportunity achieve in school and in life. Gaining access to the books they want to read—and the books they need to read—in an easy-to-absorb format can be a game changer. Sign up for a demo or get more information today to experience the satisfaction of seeing students who have never before experienced reading success blossom, with improved grades, higher test scores and increased confidence and self-esteem.

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Learning Ally is Here for You Amid School Closures
boy on tablet reading with teacher

March 17, 2020 by Lindsey Hamilton

Every day brings new developments related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19); we know your first priority is the health and safety of your students, staff and their extended families, just as it is ours. That’s why we’re taking steps now to ensure that the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is an essential component of your emerging distance learning plan and helps you to provide equal access to educational opportunities for all your students.

How can you keep your students reading?

Here are the three steps we recommend to ensure your students continue to have access to the books they need and love:

1. Review the eligibility guide so you can identify as many eligible students as possible. Remember that students do not need an IEP or 504 plan to be eligible.

 2. Ensure all of your educators who need access to Learning Ally Audiobooks, have access, can log in, add key curricular texts and literature to your student’s bookshelves, and monitor students’ reading progress remotely.

 3. Keep students reading at home by providing their parents with this Parent Information Packet. It includes instructions for both parents and students, system requirements, a detailed guide for using the audiobook app (in English and Spanish), and even a list of featured audiobooks.

Learning Ally is here to help

As we all prepare for what is to come in the weeks ahead, please know that Learning Ally wishes the best for you, your educators, and the students and families you serve. We will be keeping a close eye on the situation and doing all we can to continually support our customers and the students we serve! 

If you or your parents have questions please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance:  

Learning Ally Customer Care Center 
Phone: 800-221-4792
Email: CustomerCare@LearningAlly.org 

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