Who We Are

Learning Ally Team Members

Learning Ally empowers students who read and learn differently so that they may thrive. We help them to overcome obstacles and discover strengths, as we guide them along a path that ensures success.

History

We didn’t become the world’s largest provider of audio textbooks and literature overnight. Our history is deeply rooted in making sure everyone — no matter the hurdle — can enjoy and comprehend the printed word.

1940s

  • 1948: It all began with Anne T. Macdonald, who envisioned a service for soldiers who had lost their sight in combat. At the time, the newly passed GI Bill of Rights guaranteed a college education to servicemen. Determined to help soldiers who were blind, Mrs. Macdonald led the New York Public Library’s Women’s Auxiliary to record textbooks on vinyl phonograph discs. The organization Recording for the Blind (RFB) was born.

1950s

  • 1950:Demand was so great that RFB incorporated as the nation’s only nonprofit to record textbooks. Mrs. Macdonald then traveled across the country to establish recording studios in seven additional cities.

1960s

  • Reel-to-reel tapes, and then cassette tapes, replaced vinyl discs.

1970s

  • RFB continued to open studio locations across the country.

1980s

  • 1983:The RFB headquarters moved to Princeton, NJ. Operations became computerized, and with the development of high-speed tape duplication, the number of books circulated to our members tripled.

1990s

  • 1990:Electronic text (E-text) provided computer disks for members to use with adaptive computer equipment.
  • 1995:RFB becomes Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D), after recognizing the increased membership of individuals with learning disabilities.
  • 1996:RFB&D developed a pilot program for digital recording to ultimately produce textbooks on CD and other multimedia.

2000s

By the 2000s, membership was skyrocketing, as more than 75% of our membership came from individuals with learning disabilities ( from kindergartners to graduate students, as well as working professionals).

  • 2002: RFB&D released DAISY CD (AudioPlus®) digitally recorded textbooks.
  • 2007: RFB&D transitioned to an all-digital Learning Through Listening® Library, and launched the support website at www.LearningThroughListening.org.
  • 2008: RFB&D introduced WMA Downloadable (AudioAccessSM), allowing titles to be downloaded directly to computers and portable media players.
  • 2009: RFB&D introduced Downloadable DAISY (Downloadable AudioPlus®).

2010s

By the 2000s, membership was skyrocketing, as more than 75% of our membership came from individuals with learning disabilities ( from kindergartners to graduate students, as well as working professionals).

  • 2010: RFB&D introduced ReadHear by gh, enabling users to access content on both Mac and Window-based computers.
  • 2011: RFB&D makes content accessible on Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.
  • 2011: RFB&D changes its name to Learning Ally to better represent the full breadth of services and the individuals who are members.
  • 2012: Learning Ally introduces Teacher Ally, a powerful new application that simplifies the use of Learning Ally in schools and allows for better tracking of student performance.
  • 2013: Learning Ally introduces new parent support services and enhances its audiobooks with VOICEtext, which allows highlighted synchronized text to accompany the human narration.
  • 2013: Learning Ally makes content accessible on Android devices.
  • 2013: Learning Ally offers professional development for teachers, to help raise awareness of dyslexia among teachers and administrators, how to recognize it in the classroom, and support it through differentiated instruction and other practical classroom strategies.
  • 2014: Learning Ally launches Link, a new and enhanced playback platform for the PC and Mac.

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