Joseph Horton Wins Learning Ally National Achievement Award

Worthington resident proves that dyslexia is no obstacle to educational success

PRINCETON, NJ – Learning Ally, a nonprofit educational organization serving individuals with learning and visual disabilities, has bestowed a National Achievement Special Honors Award to Joseph Horton of Worthington, Ohio. Horton is one of several students from across the U.S. who will receive cash awards of $2,000 in recognition of their academic excellence, extraordinary leadership, and service to others

When he was in second grade, Horton suffered a stroke that resulted in difficulty decoding words, sustaining concentration, and physical challenges. Another stroke in eighth grade further impacted his learning disability, and his spelling and reading fell well below grade level – even though he had strong verbal skills and auditory comprehension.

An intervention specialist at Thomas Worthington High School introduced Horton to Learning Ally, and with the help of human-narrated audiobooks, he was able to advance and flourish in challenging classes, including AP Literature, in which he received an A grade. “Our reading list includes works of complexity, at a sometimes grueling pace,” his AP Literature teacher remarked in a recommendation letter, “yet Joe has kept up and always can demonstrate clear understandings of characters and literary techniques. The use of these audiobook recordings has resulted in Joe’s complete independence, a valuable asset as he begins his collegiate career.”

Last fall, Horton began his freshman year at Ohio State University in Columbus, with an aim to pursue coursework in engineering. “As an engineer I will plan, design and construct the infrastructure of our community and impact the quality of everyday life,” he says.

Horton points to assistive technology, specifically the ability to access his audio textbooks on an iPad, as factors that helped him turn a corner with his reading. “I can read anywhere, totally independently, without any special equipment or my Mom’s help,” he says. “I am confident as a student now and don’t dread long or challenging books anymore. To other struggling readers, I would recommend finding people who know how to diagnose and understand a reading problem, and who can help you find technology to help you overcome your struggles. Your ideas and knowledge are more important than your limitations. Given the right tools, you can excel.”

About the National Achievement Awards

Each year, Learning Ally honors exceptional students through the Marion Huber Learning Through Listening Awards, which were instituted in 1991 for high school seniors with learning differences such as dyslexia. Hundreds of students apply for these prestigious awards each year and are selected by committees of Learning Ally volunteers, board members, parents, educators, donors and staff. Students are recognized for their academic excellence, extraordinary leadership, and service to others; and they have thrived on their education paths thanks in part to their extensive use of accessible educational content and assistive technology provided by Learning Ally. Each award winner has a long list of honors and accomplishments, and has graduated with a GPA above 3.0, with most near the 4.0 mark. For information about applying for Learning Ally’s National Achievement awards, visit http://NAA.LearningAlly.org/apply.

About Learning Ally

Founded in 1948, Learning Ally helps K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom read and learn differently due to blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. Through its support programs and audiobooks, Learning Ally enables families and teachers to help students thrive and succeed. The organization provides support to parents and students through events, webinars, personal consultations and other tools; and integrated learning management systems and professional development for teachers. In addition, Learning Ally’s collection of more than 80,000 human-narrated audio textbooks and literature titles can be downloaded on mainstream smartphones and tablets, and is the largest of its kind in the world. Several thousand volunteers help to produce the educational materials, which students rely on to achieve academic and professional success. 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.


Contact: Doug Sprei
Learning Ally PR & Communications
dsprei@LearningAlly.org
(609) 243-5865