Louise A. Spencer Elementary School Places First in New Jersey, Top 10 Percent Nationwide in Learning Ally Great Reading Games
Thousands of students in more than 300 schools across America participated in the 2nd Annual Learning Ally Great Reading Games national reading event. All of participating students have reading difficulties such as dyslexia, or blindness/visual impairment, which impacts their reading abilities. Because of their reading difficulties, these students are often times left out of book clubs and other mainstream reading programs, which can damage their self-esteem and cause students to fall behind in their studies.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the students at Louise A. Spencer Elementary School for their hard work and well-deserved recognition in the Great Reading Games,” said Christopher D. 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.”
During Learning Ally’s Great Reading Games, students proved that with the right kind of support, inspiration, teachers and technology, they can overcome any challenge. The Learning Ally audiobook technology gives students a wide variety of more than 80,000 human-narrated books to choose from such as textbooks, non-fiction or literature. Students can download the books directly to their tablets, computers, smartphones, iPods and other devices, giving them the ability to read in school, on the go, or anywhere they have a device.
“We are very proud of the achievement of Newark’s students. The NPS- Learning Ally collaboration is a significant part of our Governor’s Literacy Program work and is a great example of the benefits we can realize with strong collaboration among schools, the state education department, and nonprofit non-governmental organizations,” remarked Edward Bray, Learning Ally’s Public Policy Director.
Currently, 6,600 students in 51 Newark Public Schools have access to Learning Ally audiobook technology. Approximately 72,000 pages have been read by students across the district since implementing the program at the beginning of this school year. Louise A. Spencer, Roberto Clemente, Dr. William H. Horton, Rafael Hernandez, Ann Street School, Luis Munoz Marin and McKinley School have the most students using audiobooks in the classroom.
“I am so inspired by my students at Louise A. Spencer. These children dedicated a great amount of time and energy towards this contest, and it’s so gratifying to see them being honored today for their hard work and dedication,” said Mr. Anthony Dilley, a sixth grade language arts and social studies teacher at Louise A. Spencer. “Learning Ally is truly a great program that has enhanced our instruction, and has given our students unprecedented access to reading material both at school and at home. The best part is seeing their reading levels improve, sometimes dramatically, and then the self-confidence that follows.”
“The determination of my scholars to become better readers motivates me daily,” added Ms. An’ Tiona Miller, special education teacher at Louise A. Spencer. “Using Learning Ally as an intervention with my group of scholars has allowed them to have access to a wider variety of texts to enhance instruction and improve their individual reading levels. Seeing my scholars achieve is my greatest joy.”
NPS’ partnership with Learning Ally is an example of how the district is investing in technology to create a more engaging educational experience for students and to ensure they are college and career ready. The district recently purchased over 11,000 Google Chromebook laptops with the goal of facilitating 21st Century learning environments. To support this goal, NPS has implemented strategic initiatives focused on the effective use of technology in district schools and classrooms including: monthly Digital Learning Institute (DLI) workshops with teacher leaders who are responsible for supporting instructional technology through ongoing and embedded coaching, a purposeful integration of technology into the district’s core curriculum, and an expanded partnership with a subset of schools participating in a Digital Transformation Pilot initiative.
Newark students with learning disabilities honored for becoming independent readers
Students at the Louise A. Spencer School were recognized for their reading efforts in the second annual Learning Ally Great Reading Games. The school earned first place for most pages read in the state and was among the top ten percent for schools who participated nationwide. Students read a total of 4,453 pages throughout the 7-week competition, using their tablets, computers, and cell phones to read in class and at home. “They read for at least 20 minutes a day and got points. So, the more you read, the longer you were on, the more books you turned pages in, you got more and more points,” Special Education Teacher Antiona Miller explains. Language Arts Teacher Anthony Dilley says the competition helps kids with learning disabilities become enthusiastic book worms by increasing their understanding of vocabulary words. “It’s read to them…they can look at the vocabulary words and see how they are supposed to sound,” Dilley said. Students and teachers say the competition helps bolster reading levels, which can lead to positive outcomes later in life. Newark Superintendent of Schools Christopher Cerf says becoming an effective reader not only helps students graduate, but can also translate into greater lifetime earnings. (Fios, 4/15/16)
Newark students place 1st in New Jersey in Learning Ally Reading Competition
Students at the Louise A. Spencer elementary school in Newark knew just how important reading is when taking part in a national competition. Learning Ally, a national nonprofit organization serving individuals with learning and visual disabilities, honored students at the school today for outstanding achievement in the 2nd annual learning ally great reading games. That’s a national reading contest for students with reading difficulties. Students in Newark placed first in the entire state of New Jersey during the February competition. These students weren’t just tops in New Jersey. They also scored in the top 10% of schools participating nationwide for the most pages read. Altogether, the students read a total of 4,453 pages throughout the competition during the month of February. (News 12, 4/5/16)
4,400 pages: Tech contest helps special needs Newark students
School officials are applauding the efforts of special needs students at Louise A. Spencer school, who recently took first place in the state in the second annual Learning Ally Reading Games. The students also finished in the top 10 percent of the 300 schools nationwide that competed in the contest, which counts how many pages students read. The Spencer students, who all have reading disabilities like dyslexia, read 4,453 pages during the competition, school officials said. “We are thrilled to celebrate the students,” Newark Superintendent Chris Cerf said in a statement about the recognition. “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.” (NJ.com, 04/25/2016)
About Learning Ally
Founded in 1948, Learning Ally 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; personal consultations for parents; and professional development workshops for educators.
Learning Ally’s collection of 80,000 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 http://LearningAlly.org.