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How to Get a Membership with Learning Ally

Headphones on top of book

Have you heard of Learning Ally?

I first became aware of this wonderful organization back in 2000 when my son’s struggle with Tourette’s syndrome and dyslexia made it difficult for him to focus on text. Back then, the organization was known as Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, but in 2011 they became simply Learning Ally.

Learning Ally is a non-profit organization committed to helping dyslexic, blind, and visually impaired students thrive. They understand that for some kids, reading struggles hinder learning.

They have made it their mission to help remove the barriers that hold kids back by providing them with audiobooks. Audiobooks help kids experience the many benefits of consuming text, but without the struggle of reading.

Girl listening to audio books from Learning Ally

Learning Ally’s online library includes a huge selection of human-narrated textbooks and literature for readers of all ages that can be downloaded and listened to on most computers, smartphones, and tablets. I am grateful to Learning Ally for giving my son access to text that he was unable to read fluently when he was a child. He enjoyed many great books and was able to grow in vocabulary and background knowledge because of the work that Learning Ally does.

How To Qualify for Learning Ally

An annual membership that provides access to all the services that Learning Ally offers costs $119. But not just anyone can qualify for these services. In order to comply with federal copyright law, Learning Ally is able to produce audiobooks only by documenting that their members have disabilities. And because only children who have a documented learning disability, visual impairment, or physical disability can receive assistance from Learning Ally, verification of the disability must accompany a membership request.

Need a Referral? We Can Help!

If you suspect that your child has dyslexia, a referral can be obtained through a special educator. And guess what? That’s us!

We would love to recommend your child for Learning Ally, on the condition that we can verify that your child is dyslexic or has a reading disability. To find out whether or not your child is eligible for this service, please fill out our Symptoms of Dyslexia Screening Checklist.

Symptoms of Dyslexia Screening Checklist cover

After filling out the checklist, save the PDF to your computer and then submit the checklist to us.

● Email your completed checklist to us at: rachel@allaboutlearningpress.com

● Or fax your checklist to us at 877-774-8006.

Please be sure to include your child’s name, your name, email address, and telephone number when you submit your checklist. As soon as we receive your checklist, we will determine if your child qualifies and submit the “Proof of Disability” form to Learning Ally on your behalf.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Explicit Reading Instruction Is Still Essential

Resources like Learning Ally have been a lifesaver for so many families like mine. But even great resources are not intended to take the place of a comprehensive reading program. If your child is struggling with reading, it is essential that he receive explicit reading instruction. All About Reading and All About Spelling have become the go-to curriculum resource for scores of families who want to help their children become better readers and spellers, whether or not they have dyslexia. Because even if your child doesn’t have a documented reading disability, he or she will benefit from the multisensory, no-gaps approach that makes our programs so special.

Does your family have any favorite audio books, either through Learning Ally or other sources?

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Leave a Comment

Claire L

says:

Thank you so much for offering this! My son finds trying to read on his own painfully difficult, but he loves being read to and listening to audio books. Learning Ally seems like it would be a helpful resource in addition to All About Reading.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Claire,
You are welcome. Having ready access to audiobooks is very helpful.

Stacey

says:

Thank you so very much for posting this info!!!

Marsena

says:

Thanks so much for posting about this!

my son just got an IEP at the charter school his is attending. In the results they say he has a mild cognitive learning deficiency, and he is diagnosed with ADHD that interferes with his learning . Would that qualify us for this program and help. My son is reading on a second grade level and he is in 4th grade now and was retained in first grade We are just starting to use the all about learning reading and spelling program and my son’s fluency in reading is very poor. below grade level. I need help as I home school my child because of the bulling and other behavior problems in school.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Brenda,
I’m am sorry to hear your son is struggling in this way, and I am particularly sadden to hear that he is experiencing bullying.

ADHD, by itself, does not qualify for Learning Ally. Cognitive learning deficiency is not on Learning Ally’s list of conditions that do qualify, nor is it on the list of conditions that don’t qualify. Since you have an IEP, you could contact Learning Ally and ask them directly.

However, you can also look through our Symptoms of Dyslexia Checklist and see if there are a number of things you could check. We may be able to process your approval for Learning Ally using our checklist.

Renee Willoughby

says:

I look forward to joining with you to assist us in our journey of reading.

Jill

says:

Great resource. Thanks for sharing.

Jray Jhones

says:

thanks for sharing the resource

Kate Page

says:

I am a New Zealand teacher of students with learning disabilities. How can I get access to this resource please?

Regards
Kate

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kate,
I’m sorry, but Learning Ally is for US residents only. From Learning Ally’s site: “Regrettably, U.S. copyright restrictions continue to preclude us from being able to provide digitally produced audiobooks to applicants residing outside of the U.S. Additionally, Learning Ally does not provide school or institutional memberships for foreign-based institutions.”

Milissa

says:

I didn’t know this organization existed! Thank you for always providing great information!

Kristy S

says:

Not only are these awesome resources for students with visual impairments, I think about many of the students who struggle with fluency and how audio books are a great way for them to listen to fluent reading and then practice the passages/texts themselves as a repeated reading activity!

amy cook

says:

do you know if I would have to pay the membership for each child or just one per family? I have 2 boys that qualify?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amy,
The annual membership is labeled as a “Family Membership” on their website. This covers up to 4 children with an unlimited number of books allowed. So, pay for one and both enjoy!

Debra Wallace

says:

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. We’ve been using Audible and it’s crazy expensive. We joined and this has been a huge blessing to us. My dyslexic daughter is already in love with audiobooks and it’s such a blessing to give her nearly unlimited access and independence. Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Debra. It sounds like your daughter is going to have a lot of fun with Learning Ally!

Jill

says:

Is Tourette Syndrome a covered disability? My son is often unable to hold books due to motor tics. He also has head shaking tics that make reading a nightmare. I end up reading for him alot of the time.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jill,
On the Learning Ally website they state, “Learning Ally services are limited to individuals with documented learning disabilities, vision impairment, or physical disabilities that impede the ability to process standard print.” (emphasis mine). While Tourette Syndrome isn’t specifically mentioned, I think this statement strongly suggests that your son’s struggles would qualify him. I recommend you contact them directly.

daniela_p

says:

My child like an audio book with a car. He learn to spell by listening the story

Tiffany

says:

My uncle was dyslexic, he struggled at reading and writing. Back then, they just passed him threw the grades and he graduated anyways. It’s great knowing there’s programs and possibilities out there now to help with these disabilities.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Tiffany,
It’s not just “back then”. My nephew-in-law (my niece’s husband) has a similar story, and he’s only 25 or so.

Laura

says:

This sounds like it would be amazing for my autistic son. He struggles a lot with reading, but has never had any specific learning disability diagnosed. Would an autism diagnosis alone be enough to qualify him for this program?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Laura,
The autism alone would not qualify a child. From their site:

Learning Ally services are limited to individuals with documented learning disabilities, vision impairment, or physical disabilities that impede the ability to process standard print. These requirements mean that by themselves, the following may not qualify for membership:

Autism spectrum disorders
ADD, ADHD
Developmental disability
Hearing impairment
ESL

However, you don’t need an official diagnosis in order to qualify. Take a look at the Symptoms of Dyslexia checklist above, and check off any items on the list that applies to your son. Then email Rachel at rachel@allaboutlearningpress.com with the checklist and your concerns. She will be able to tell you if she can refer your son to Learning Ally based on that.

Lori

says:

I was able to get the subscription for my son based on the fact that he struggles with processing the words as he reads. We were able to use his Speech Therapist to approve it.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for letting us know, Lori. We’ll be able to help others in this direction now.

kai

says:

looks like a good program

Linda Viersma

says:

Would love to win the 2nd level!

Shannon Harvey

says:

Thank you for hosting a contest! I would love to win the 3rd level. I’m going to need level 2 before the contest deadline. We are thrilled with level 1 & the progress we’ve seen in our boys! My 7th grader has flown through level 1 but needed it to get a good foundation. He’s already improving in his writing & reading. My 4th grader is a bit slower, but still making great strides in his writing & reading as well. I am most pleased with both of their confidence levels! That is what is priceless, so thank you!!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Shannon,
Thank you for sharing this! People wonder about using AAS 1 with older kids, but it so frequently turns out just as you described. Older students move through AAS 1 quickly, but there is a noticeable improvement in their spelling in that short time!

Nancy Stornes

says:

I’ve always wanted to try all about spelling.

Linda Reddoch

says:

I’ve never heard of this curriculum.
We do not own any audio books, but I am getting interested in them!

lacy campbell

says:

This is so wonderful that y’all do this. My son has dyslexia and I’ve been worried about him and think he’d benefit from this. :)

Minden

says:

So glad to have found this!

Stacey

says:

As a speech therapist (before homeschooling) I worked with families and their children who had dyslexia. The method that is used in All About Spelling was truly the most effective method. Imagine my surprise, years later, when my 3rd child should all the struggles of dyslexia and anomia. Coupled that with the fact that my older son was getting 100% on all his spelling tests (traditional spelling used. grrr) and yet his spelling in his writing was, much to my embarrassment as an educator, horrific. I rolled up my sleeves to find a solution to both these problems and voila!, all the research led me straight to All About Spelling. The results have been amazing. We have even implemented the program into our Co-Op program. Thank You All About Learning!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you so much for sharing both your professional opinion and your personal experiences with us, Stacey!

Randi

says:

I have suspected that my son has dyslexia and your checklist has made me more concerned. Where would I begin my search to find a second opinion or some sort of professional who could “test” him (aside from filling out your checklist)?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Randi,
This article, Testing for Dyslexia, discusses many of the numerous issues surrounding dyslexia testing. One thing I would add to this article is that I am finding occasionally eye doctors will be able to offer a basic assessment for dyslexia. This wouldn’t be a full diagnosis, such as a psychologist would be able to do, but similar to what a reading tutor or language therapist would offer.

Jodi

says:

My 4th grader listens to audio books from the library system, but a subscription to Learning Ally would give her exactly the books she needs.

Caryn Taylor

says:

I was homeschooled from a young age. My sister, who struggled with dyslexia, was homeschooled starting at age ten. My mom used Learning Ally by what it was then called…Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. My sister wasn’t too happy with that name but used the books happily throughout her school career. By the time she went to college she was getting her own textbooks converted. Now, as a homeschool mom with a dyslexic son I know the power of audiobooks and alternative learning modalities. My family uses several of the free audio book services on our phones and tablets. I am sad to see that a very old, respected and formally free service is now having to charge those in need.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Caryn,
Yes, prior to 2011, members did not have to pay because of funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education. But now that funding is no longer available to Learning Ally, so they must charge a reasonable fee for their service. They do have a hardship waiver available, for those that need it.

Jinny

says:

I am the mom of four dyslexic children. My children have all greatly benefited from the use of audiobooks. I used them extensively in grades K-6. We would listen in the car, while playing legos, and before they went to bed. It was especially helpful when the child’s learning and thinking abilities greatly exceeded his reading ability. I want to give you hope though- My oldest son – who was/is severely dyslexic is a sophomore in college in chemical engineering. My next son is a junior in high school and doing very well. My younger two children are in grades 5 and 7 and still a work in progress as far as their dyslexia is concerned, but they are making progress. Don’t give up!! Use any and all avenues of learning – especially multisensory programs. The All About Learning series are very helpful. I wish they had existed many years ago!
As far as audiobooks are concerned, I always just used books on tape/ CD from the library and now just use overdrive on my kindle and phone.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jinny,
Thank you for sharing the success of your older children. This is so encouraging to those still in the day-in-day-out trenches of dyslexia!

Lisa Carter

says:

I was so sad to see that Learning Ally is charging such a high price for their services. I can get the Kindle Unlimited which includes audiobooks for much less. They are obviously using grant money since they need such documentation with each application. As a nonprofit, I would expect more!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
One difference between Learning Ally and Kindle Whispersync is that Learning Ally uses recordings by a living person, while Whispersync uses a digitally produced voice. I have notice a large difference in my own children’s ability to comprehend between the two. I think this because a human voice has more express and inflection that provides a lot of subtle contextual clues. Compared to other audiobook options that uses human voices, such as Audible, Learning Ally is very reasonably priced.

However, if your child does well with digital voices, then I can see the Kindle Whispersync being a good option.

Learning Ally does have a hardship waiver for the membership fee, but you would have to contact them for more information about it.

Susan Cujas

says:

Thank you for the information on dyslexia. I grew up with dyslexia as well as my siblings. I remember thinking how are others able to know what that word is in 1st grade. I remember the pain of not knowing how to spell and feeling stupid. I now have 3 children who all are dyslexic. I decided to homeschool my first 2. After watching them struggle with each reading program I bought and ended up getting them tutored with Orton-Gullingham trained therapist and learned how to teach them but the programs then were very challenging and time consuming. These 2 girls are now in college and doing well but they still struggle with test. However they are indep and learning. They may not be the all “A students” but their grades are good. I also have a 9 year old who I tried to put in small private school. As he fell behind his peers they tried a 1-1 tutor, this still didn’t help. I went back to part time work and pulled him out and we are home schooling again at step one with your program and he is skills are developing. I know from experience there are no short cuts – it must be step by step mastery. However I also know we will make it! Thank you for your products and blogs. I found them very helpful.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Susan,
Thank you for sharing your own struggles and your children’s struggles and successes. It’s encouraging to hear how struggling students are doing well now in college!

Helen

says:

Is it possible to get a membership to Learning Ally if you live in New Zealand?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Helen,
I’m sorry, Learning Ally is available to US residents only. From Learning Ally’s site:
Regrettably, U.S. copyright restrictions continue to preclude us from being able to provide digitally produced audiobooks to applicants residing outside of the U.S.

Jessica Sibley

says:

Thank you so much for this post! At what grade level should we begin to really mark these signs? I have a 6.5 year old boy in first grade and he meets many of these signs, but I’m not sure how much to contribute that to being a boy, being young or really having a problem.

Joanna

says:

My son has been making steady, but very slow progress. He is 9 and reads on a 1st to 2nd grade level. While he is progressing, reading is still hard work, and not fun yet. He does fit many of the signs for dyslexia. Audio books are a life saver for us, reminding him of the joy that reading will bring, and helping him gain many of the benefits of reading despite his struggles. We have a wonderful library system that allows us to request books in from a large collection of libraries for free, so that has been our way to access audio books for our kids.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Joanna,
I’m glad to hear your son is progressing. It is hard work.

Thanks for reminding us that public libraries are a great source for audiobooks as well. Many US libraries offer online from home checkouts to digital audiobooks as well, just using your library card number.

I just filled out the form to get Spencer a referral. I had to check all but one of the symptoms! We are working hard to help him make serious progress the last few years. Thank you!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kelli,
You are welcome. And congratulations on the serious progress over the last few years!

Wendy Walker

says:

It will sound silly, but I actually broke down in tears when I read this post. Thank you for making it possible to gain access to resources that our daughter so desperately needs.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Wendy,
Not silly at all! We are so happy to be able to help you help your daughter in any way we can, and helping you get access to Learning Ally is such a small thing.

Angela

says:

Thank you for making this possible. My son has so many of the signs. He’s made improvements with AAS and AAR but it’s been slow. I’m filling out the paperwork.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Angela,
I’m glad you are taking advantage of this excellent resource!

Thank you so much for spreading the word about Learning Ally. It has made a huge difference for my family

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Jennifer. It has been a great resource for many families, but so many have never even heard of it.

Sarah Smith

says:

I am a first time homeschool mom. All About Learning Press is AMAZING! A lot of my fellow homeschool moms have some kind of background in teaching or education. AALP has made one of the most difficult things to teach not only easy, but so very enjoyable. I was struggling with how to help my son learn to read in a way that was not frustrating to him or to me. AALP was the answer. I saw an add for it on a blog and looked into it. My husband and I decided to give it a shot. I love Love LOVE AALP! My son is reading, my younger daughter is only a few lessons behind him–and we are ALL enjoying learning together. I highly recommend this program. It really does work. Just open the teacher’s book and it lays out for you. It’s a beautiful thing when everyone is enjoying the process of reading and spelling.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
Thank you so much for sharing your children’s success with us! They are doing so well! It’s so great we could be a part of that.

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