Learning Ally has deep roots in helping people with learning differences gain access to reading materials, tutoring and more. The group got its start in 1948 at the New York City Public Library.
Soldiers blinded in World War II returned home and came to the library seeking accessible materials—which, in the days before easy speech-to-text and widely available recordings, were very rare. That’s when a member of the library Women’s Auxiliary group, Anne T. Macdonald, saw an opportunity to help: she and other volunteers set up a small recording studio in the Library’s attic, where they captured textbooks read aloud to small phonographic discs. That made materials previously out of reach to the blind more accessible.
For more on Learning Ally’s history, check out: https://go.learningally.org/learning-allys-rich-history-honoring-veterans/
Fast forward nearly 70 years, a name change and huge expansion of audiences served, including the dyslexia community—Learning Ally is, today, one of the premiere reading resources for educators, parents and students alike. And just as was the case in 1948, accessibility is the group’s top priority. “Most important of all, our members have expressed loud and clear that they don’t wish to be labeled or typecast with a specific ‘disability.’ They just want the same opportunities to succeed that others enjoy,’ says Learning Ally national director Terrie Noland.
That’s why IMSE has been a proud partner of Learning Ally for more than two years.
“IMSE’s relationship with Learning Ally is extremely important. They have a vast tutor database that lists certified OG tutors from approved organizations and IMSE is proud to be among them,” says Janice Kohler, IMSE’s director of professional development.
In addition to being a part of its tutor database, IMSE partners in webinars hosted on the Learning Ally web site. In February of 2016, IMSE trainer Helen Brandon spearheaded a webinar on reading comprehension. Webinars are a key service Learning Ally provides for its members. “Learning Ally works hard to ensure that we are providing the most comprehensive content and support for our members in serving their students with learning disabilities,” says Noland.
To view the reading comprehension webinar, click here: https://go.learningally.org/webinar-multi-sensory-reading-comprehension-strategies/
And IMSE is proud to, again this year, be part of Learning Ally’s 2016 Spotlight on Dyslexia to be held online December 2nd. IMSE co-founder Jeanne Jeup and Helen Brandon will present a session on decoding multi-syllabic words for struggling readers.
To register for the 2016 Spotlight on Dyslexia, please visit: https://www.learningally.org/Dyslexia-Conference/Agenda
Looking ahead to 2017 and beyond, the IMSE-Learning Ally partnership will only continue to grow: “They are highly respected by parents, educators, and scholars. We are thrilled to be affiliated with them,” says IMSE’s Janice Kohler.
Learning Ally’s Terrie Noland confirms, “We partner with organizations like IMSE to ensure that we have access to the most knowledgeable experts in the field.”