Audiobooks: Struggling Readers Have an Ally

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Lower School boy reads audiobooks.
A Lower School student reads audiobooks while Mrs. Connie Bagley looks on.

SMA has joined more than 16,000 schools nationwide that are utilizing audiobooks through “Learning Ally.” This program is helping to level the playing field for students who struggle to read due to learning differences.

Human-read, curriculum aligned

Learning Ally (LA) is a non-profit online program that provides easy access to over 80,000 human-read audiobooks. The LA library gives students access to English Language Arts titles, popular fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels. Curriculum aligned titles as well as textbooks are included. Students with print-based learning differences now have equal access to grade-level content.  

Human-read books can improve focus, vocabulary, and comprehension.  Students are able to manipulate the rate at which they read the highlighted text, therefore improving fluency skills. Research has proven that students who struggle with reading, but engage with text through audiobooks, can keep pace with grade level curriculum. Auditory learners (those with a higher level of listening comprehension versus reading comprehension) can now access literature at a more advanced level. 

Tate M. uses Learning Ally phone app.
Fifth grader Tate M. uses the Learning Ally phone app to read with Mrs. Bagley.

Eligibility Requirements

Learning Ally is a subscription-based program that has eligibility requirements. Students must have a documented learning disability, visual impairment or physical disability that makes it difficult to read using traditional print. In many cases, international students who are English as a Second language learners can also qualify for the program.

Mrs. Connie Bagley, director of the Academy’s Accommodated Learning Program, and Mrs. Margo McClintock, director of the Learning Skills Program, can assist in determining if a student is eligible to participate. Because San Marcos Academy has a site license, all eligible students will receive access to a Learning Ally account at no additional cost to the parents. On a smartphone, tablet, or computer, students can visit an app store, download the Learning Ally LINK App, and log in with their username and password provided by SMA. 

Student does homework with audiobooks
In the Learning Center, Isabella A. does her homework using an audio textbook.

Administrators or teachers on campus can monitor student accounts and manage them. A teacher dashboard includes information on the number of pages read, number of days the student read, total minutes spent on LA, and average minutes per day the student engaged with print.   

Audiobooks: Get More Info

For information on accessing audiobooks through Learning Ally or the Academy’s Accommodated Learning Program, contact Connie Bagley at 512-753-8070.

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