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How much do you use Learning Ally?

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My first attempt with Bookshare and Voice Dream narrating The Human Odyssey was a flop. I cannot imagine listening to 25 hours of that voice. We did go through all of them and it still doesn't sound natural enough to not end up zoning out to it.
 

I looked into Learning Ally but it doesn't seem they have that exact textbook. Is it worth a subscription? How often do you use it? Any recommendations for a middle school history text on LA?

Thanks

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Agreed, all digital voices so far have been horrific for my ds. He'll listen to them, but he zones out with his autism and is really hard to get back. After a few times of that, we were like nope, no way. 

I don't know what we can do with Bookshare. I'm on it and a local friend is using it avidly and saying I needed to check it out. So you got Human Odyssey? That would be amazing. I'm doing a bit better staying awake for read alouds now that I have TWO PAIRS of progressives, haha. I used to always fall asleep, oh my. Now we read aloud a lot! If he could do something with audio, that would be amazing. But you're right that the computer voices are really bad for him. 

Learning Ally can be mixed quality and it costs, yes? Is what you want possibly on National Library Service/BARD? We get a lot of fiction and just regular books from them. I don' tknow if they have texts, but they always have real voice readers.

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At an accelerated rate, the voices sound about the same.

We quit LearningAlly when DS was 8th grade. DS couldn’t handle the 4-5 speaker changes per subchapter of his CIA Physical Science text.

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Huh. We use Learning Ally non-stop. We find it to be the easiest and most complete platform for audiobooks. I think it has *significantly* improved in the last couple of years. My boys haven't complained once about a reader or an issue with LA this year. And they have virtually all middle grade textbooks we've needed unlike Audible or Bookshare. The exception is the last Human Odyssey book (and honestly this is because K12 is a jerk about controlling their materials and digital access since they want you to purchase their huge and expensive comprehensive online courses).

Edited by FairProspects
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2 minutes ago, FairProspects said:

The middle grade history texts we've used on Learning Ally are the Hakim series.

So for something like Hakim on LA, is that going to be digital or human voice? 

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1 minute ago, PeterPan said:

So for something like Hakim on LA, is that going to be digital or human voice? 

 

It's a human voice.

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K12 Human Odyssey is on Bookshare.org.  If you request a book at Bookshare, it takes about 4 weeks for them to acquire it.

https://www.bookshare.org/browse/book/253930?returnPath=L3NlYXJjaD9tb2R1bGVOYW1lPXB1YmxpYyZrZXl3b3JkPUh1bWFuIG9keXNzZXk%3D

We’ve been off of LA for 5 years now.  We used it from 3-8th grades and then stopped.  

Edited by Heathermomster
Can't spell for beans,,,
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2 hours ago, FairProspects said:

Huh. We use Learning Ally non-stop. We find it to be the easiest and most complete platform for audiobooks. I think it has *significantly* improved in the last couple of years. My boys haven't complained once about a reader or an issue with LA this year. And they have virtually all middle grade textbooks we've needed unlike Audible or Bookshare. The exception is the last Human Odyssey book (and honestly this is because K12 is a jerk about controlling their materials and digital access since they want you to purchase their huge and expensive comprehensive online courses).

 

Good to know. I think we will give a try. So each book has several narrators? Do you find that distracting at all?

2 hours ago, Heathermomster said:

K12 Human Odyssey is on Bookshare.org.  If you request a book at Bookshare, it takes about 4 weeks for them to acquire it.

https://www.bookshare.org/browse/book/253930?returnPath=L3NlYXJjaD9tb2R1bGVOYW1lPXB1YmxpYyZrZXl3b3JkPUh1bWFuIG9keXNzZXk%3D

We’ve been off of LA for 5 years now.  We used it from 3-8th grades and then stopped.  

 

Yes, this is where we have it from. I could tell just going through the introduction that it was going to be hard to get through with Voice Dream.

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1 hour ago, summerreading said:

 

Good to know. I think we will give a try. So each book has several narrators? Do you find that distracting at all?

 

 I just asked ds and he said that for novels Learning Ally almost always has the same reader for the entire book. He did say that for textbooks, like his science book, the readers switch, but it doesn't bother him at all and he has come to expect it to be random. This is coming from a kid who hates the digital voices though. He'd really rather have any human reader, but he says it isn't distracting.

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I wish I could remember the textbooks that DS struggled with.  One textbook changed readers by the paragraph, and it drove DS crazy.  He also struggled with the harsh NE accent.  It has been awhile, so things will have changed.

My issue was cost.  Prior to offering the free IPod/iPad app, LA charged $30.  We needed the app to use our membership, so I paid it.  I think I paid at least $90 per year with LA and a Homeschool Co-op Discount.  I could simply purchase Kindle books with Audible Immersion cheaper.

My son is about to be 19 yo, and shifting to digital voice was a process.  If you have an old Kindle touch or Kindle Fire, your son can practice listening to a digital voice using the TTS feature on TTS enabled Kindle books.  I enjoy listening to TTS enabled books.  Good luck!  If FairP says LA is good, it’s going to be good.

Edited by Heathermomster

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Used to use LA a lot. Stopped when it became quite expensive plus switch of platforms.  

They have a lot of good middle school materials particularly if you want to learn in a subject rather than being wedded to a particular book  also they used to record books on request for students (it took lead time and sending them book copies if they did not have them)  They often already have recorded text books for that reason  I don’t know, but assume they still record books for students  

Considering returning to it now that we have cellular service.  Which is to say I left it due to cost and it no longer being reasonably accessible in our circumstances   It at least used to have some really interesting books unavailable elsewhere back then when it used tapes like NLS did, but I think some did not get transferred to new format of disks or downloadable  

For those who don’t know, LA is all human readers.  

However many / some (?) readers are / we’re volunteers and mixed in their skills. Most books I got on it were well read. Or at least well enough. A few were poorly read, such as when readers could not pronounce words, frequently changed mid book etc. 

The reading problem probably does not affect middle school level books so much, if at all.  

It is more a problem if, let’s say, a history major from Princeton walks in as a volunteer reader and is given a 3rd year college level chemistry text to read, and maybe not even from the beginning but has to start in wherever last volunteer left off.  Otoh, it can also be that a chemistry major gets the chemistry book to read and then it comes out much better.  So the history major may be struggling on just how to pronounce the words. While the chem major may read something like say a sidebar and be practically explaining the meaning of say how it is showing a chemical reaction. 

Some readers seemed to really love reading their book, and stick with it all the way.  

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I use it daily during the school week and one of the things we use it for is a Human Odyssey textbook. My child is fine with the narrators for it. They do switch sometimes for the Human Odyssey but most are good and they are switching at natural pauses like chapters when they do. The one thing that can be a little annoying is the side bars are read after the page and that is not always the best flow for them. I did not realize they did not have the last one available. That will make next year harder. Darn it was working so well to use that for one of my kids this year. I also use it for a science textbook which has the same narrator who is good and whatever another child picks to read based on books I load it with. 

Edited by MistyMountain
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