“How does it feel to meet the people who record your books?”
“It feels AWESOME! They’re really cool!”
It’s a magical time when students who rely on audiobooks to access grade-level text get to meet the volunteers who make it all possible. This happened recently at two Learning Ally studios – Austin, TX and Princeton, NJ.
Participating students are part of an elite group, although they tell us they don’t always feel that way. Every student in attendance has a print disability, mostly dyslexia, so they are often left out of awards for reading. However, that’s exactly what this field trip was all about – a reward for devouring audiobooks.
Our Texas students ranked in the top 10 nationwide in our Great Reading Games, a national ear-reading competition, and our New Jersey students are honored to have one of Learning Ally’s Excellence in Teaching national award winning educators as their teacher.
“What’s your favorite book?” a volunteer asks.
“The I Survived series!”
“I love Junie B. Jones!”
“You know what’s really awesome?” asks Terrie Noland, Learning Ally’s National Director of Educator Engagement. “That we are all discussing BOOKS. So many times, kids who struggle with reading don’t have the opportunity to discover and fall in love with new books. This is fabulous!”
Kids not only discussed those books – they also CREATED new “books” of their own! Each student wrote a story, then entered the recording booth to see what it’s like to be behind the microphone. They also got to take their story home on a flash drive.
“My story is about what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a teacher,” says one smiling girl from New Jersey.
“I’m going to be a doctor!” says another student.
Dreams. Students who know what it’s like to struggle …to feel left behind …now also know what it’s like to DREAM just as big as any other child.
And they also know these dreams are attainable, thanks in part to their fabulous teachers and the assistive technology that gives them a ramp into the written world.
In addition to all of this, the kids got an added bonus of feeling like celebrities when their field trip made it onto the local evening news! See their stories on KVUE (Austin, TX) and WPVI (Philadelphia, PA).
“Thank you, volunteers! Thank you Learning Ally.”
If you are interested in volunteering for Learning Ally, find out more information at LearningAlly.org/Volunteer.
Watch the full Austin, TX studio field trip from our Facebook Live recorded video below:
– Jules Johnson
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