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How to Close the Reading Gap Before Summer

by Terrie Noland, Ph.D., CALP

As the end of another school year is coming into sight, is it too late to see accelerated learning gains from students who are struggling to find success? What if there was something that could have a positive domino effect on the students who are still struggling in their classes, even at this point in the year? Closing the reading gap to improve reading can have that domino effect.

Reading is the foundational skill that permeates all other subjects. A student who struggles to read faces insurmountable challenges in any subject area, while a student who reads at proficiency engages in school subjects on a level playing field. While there is no shortage of reading supplements and tools, there is one option that can accelerate reading growth before school ends for summer.

Audiobooks for Students

For students struggling with reading proficiency, an audiobook solution designed for education, which features high-quality, human-read audiobooks and a suite of resources educators need to drive outcomes, can be the missing element to success. But how do audiobooks specifically help improve reading proficiency to close the reading gap?

  • Listening to real people narrate while following highlighted text on a screen helps students model fluent reading.
  • Using audiobooks designed for the classroom, students can read the same books as their peers, allowing them to participate in class discussions with confidence.
  • A proven audiobook solution developed specifically for schools can help students master basic reading skills and build reading independence lacking in those struggling with literacy.
  • Access to math, science, and other textbooks in audiobook format ensures students don’t fall behind in other classes and supports growth and development as the curriculum gets more advanced.
  • Audiobooks help students stay on top of classwork and promote staying in school and reaching their potential.
Screenshot of the first page of chapter 1 in the book "Wonder."
Example Audiobook from Learning Ally Audiobook Solution

Five Steps to Set up a No-Cost Audiobook Solution

But is it too late in the year to get started? Simply put– no. It’s never too late to remove barriers preventing students from succeeding. Breakthrough results can be achieved with struggling readers, some of whom have realized rapidly accelerated reading growth– with an ease of effort and time investment for educators– through the implementation of the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution.

Here are the steps you can take today to accelerate reading growth, improve reading, and close the reading gap before the end of the school year. Best of all, you can address student reading gaps and make an impact with no cost to you, your school, or your district. 

  1. Learn more about the funding the Texas Education Agency has provided for K-12 public schools and open enrollment charters to support struggling readers with the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution.
Screenshot of an example audiobook library for a student
Example Student Library in Learning Ally Audiobook Solution
  1. Enroll your school using the Texas-funded Institutional Membership Application. Once the form has been submitted, you will receive emailed instructions on how to get your account set up and get started. 
  2. Set up your school access once your account is active. Determine eligible students, identify educator roles, and assign access accordingly.
  3. Launch the audiobook library for your students. Browse titles and assign books individually or in groups. Integrate instructional strategies with the app, which allows for note-sharing, onboard dictionary, and more.
  4. Monitor student progress and tailor instruction to meet goals. Use reporting dashboards to easily track student advancement toward reading targets and monitor growth.

Make Independent Reading Time More Effective

With audiobooks available to struggling readers who need them, independent reading time will be more effective. Students can don their headsets and dive into an audiobook from the library, anytime from any device. Some suggestions to extend and explore include pairing with a classmate to discuss the story and demonstrate their comprehension in the form of a book report, giving an oral report, acting out a scene, designing a poster, playing a guessing game of “who am I,” or doing a Q&A with their teacher.

A proven audiobook solution developed specifically for students with reading difficulties can be the key to unlocking potential. It’s simple to implement, easy to set up, and proven to accelerate reading growth. And with the funding the Texas Education Agency has provided, there is no financial impact for K-12 public and charter schools in the state to offer this resource to students. 

Summer is right around the corner. Get started with this no-cost audiobook solution today.

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