A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Learning Ally Audiobooks pairs with a subscription-based program for kids with visual impairments or dyslexia, and users must qualify before subscribing. Learning Ally provides access to more than 75,000 audio books for $119 per year. Members must assign books to user accounts using a Web browser before downloading them to the app. Text and background colors can be adjusted by preference, rate of reading can be altered, and highlighted text can be set to match a rate that best fits a kid's reading ability. Because the available books are for K–12, parents should supervise as younger kids choose and download books.
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What's it about?
To use LEARNING ALLY AUDIOBOOKS, parents must purchase a subscription and submit documentation (such as an IEP, a 504, or a document provided by the website and signed by a qualifying clinician). Audiobooks are selected from a Web browser and added to a user's bookshelf. Kids then can access and download books from their mobile devices. Each book file provides a table of contents, which kids can click through. Once a page is selected, the narration will start automatically. Kids can pause, skip forward, or go back using buttons at the bottom of the screen. They also can adjust the size of the text or reading rate by tapping the corresponding icon. Each click and swipe results in a tonal response for visually impaired kids. Text is highlighted as a human or computer voice reads each phrase or paragraph. Kids can insert a bookmark to hold their place, and the book will begin there when the app is opened again.
Is it any good?
Learning Ally Audiobooks provides an opportunity for readers with visual impairments or dyslexia to gain access to all types of reading material. More than an ereader, this app highlights text as it's read to help readers develop fluency skills and offers features that allow kids to personalize by adjusting the reading rate and text size. Learning Ally Audiobooks provides content for all grade levels (including textbooks), so younger kids may need adult supervision before adding books to their bookshelves. There are some books that have the computerized voice and phrasing, but most books are read by a human and help reinforce good reading skills (rate, porosity, phonics, and so on).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the books kids have been reading: What character do you most identify with? Does this character overcome a challenge or stick with something he or she finds challenging? What happens as a result?
Parents can encourage reading with their kids by listening to the books with them. Then, exchange ideas about what you think should have happened or how you might rewrite the ending. Tell kids which scene you could most vividly see and why, and then ask them about one they remember.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Chromebook
- Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, reading, reading comprehension, storytelling
- Skills: Self-Direction: academic development
- Price: Free for teachers supporting qualifying students
- Pricing structure: Free to try, Free (14-day trial then it's $135 per year. The tool is only for kids with a demonstrated learning disability, physical disability, or visual impairment that makes it difficult to read traditional print text. Cost waivers are available for those in need.)
- Release date: April 9, 2014
- Category: Education
- Size: 19.10 MB
- Publisher: Learning Ally, Inc.
- Version: 4.3.2
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 11.0 or later; Android 5.0 and up
- Last updated: January 22, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.