Learning Ally Launches New Educational Reading App as Part of Plans to Help Educators Support More Students with Visual and Learning Disabilities

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National nonprofit to expand school district programs to reach more students who struggle with reading – and the teachers who guide them

Newark Public Schools 6th grader takes in a book via Learning Ally LINK, on his way to being one of the top readers in NJ

“Through Learning Ally audiobook technology and the support of our teachers, all of our children have the opportunity to access critical reading material to enhance their personal and academic achievement."

Learning Ally, a national nonprofit organization supporting students who read and learn differently due to dyslexia, blindness and other disabilities, has announced plans to expand partnerships with schools at the district and school system level, in order to reach more students who struggle with reading.

With the launch of its new educational reading app – Learning Ally LINK– which is fully functional across all devices, it is now easier for schools to train educators and students to access the organization’s learning tools, including its library of more than 82,000 human-narrated audiobooks which help struggling readers improve vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

The LINK program is currently in use via PC, MAC and Chromebooks among more than 250,000 students in over 10,000 US schools. The new app is specifically designed to easily and immediately increase the number of students, teachers, schools and districts/systems who have access to Learning Ally technology, programs and services.

Launch of the new mobile-friendly version of LINK will include continuous improvements and updates, based on educator and student testing and feedback, with students who “learn through listening” in mind. The LINK app is now available for download in the Apple store and an updated version is coming soon to the Google Play store.

The LINK platform gives students and their teachers instant access to Learning Ally’s 82,000 human-narrated audiobooks, including a wide range of core curriculum textbook and literature titles. The application has been updated with several new features for ease of use and maximum benefits for students and teachers. These features include:

The ability for users to add books to their “bookshelf” directly from their mobile device’s browser     
Fully displayed book covers and audio format labels     
New searchable bookshelf
Ability to select download location (Android)
Adjustable speed, text size, text and highlighting color
Compatible with VoiceOver (for iOS)

According to Christopher Cerf, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools, “Through Learning Ally audiobook technology and the support of our teachers, all of our children have the opportunity to access critical reading material to enhance their personal and academic achievement.”

Learning Ally provided educators throughout the Newark district with professional development on how to use Teacher Ally, a web-based student management tool and resource center, and provided training on the Learning Ally LINK app, which Newark was able to download on Chromebooks district-wide. This strong collaboration between Learning Ally and Newark Public Schools helped one school in the district become the top reading school in the state of New Jersey during the organization’s national reading contest, the Great Reading Games.

“We know that implementing new programs at any school is challenging because of a variety of factors, including the pressure that many education professionals are feeling,” remarked Tim Wilson, General Manager of Learning Ally’s Education Solutions. “We also consistently see the transformation that happens when a student gets access to the tools they need to succeed as readers. The best way to reach as many of these students as possible is to partner with schools at the district level. That’s when implementation can truly be effective, because we ensure that all educators are aware and trained district-wide, we focus on community awareness, and we are more likely to reach every child who can benefit.”

To learn how to bring Learning Ally to your district, contact programs(at)LearningAlly(dot)org, call 800.221.1098 or visit Learning Ally.org/Educators.

Founded in 1948, Learning Ally, a national nonprofit organization, supports K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom read and learn differently due to dyslexia, blindness or visual impairment, and other disabilities. Through its extensive community events and support programs, Learning Ally enables parents, teachers and specialists to help students thrive and succeed. The organization hosts live and virtual events for families and teachers; provides instructive webinars led by experts as well as peer-to-peer sessions led by students; and professional development workshops for educators. Learning Ally’s collection of 82,000 human-narrated audio textbooks and literature titles can be downloaded by students using their smartphones and tablets, and is the largest of its kind in the world. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Learning Ally is partially funded by grants from state and local education programs, and the generous contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information, visit LearningAlly.org.

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Doug Sprei
Learning Ally
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