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Recently there have been some questions from volunteers about Learning Ally and why we create audiobooks that are also readily available on other platforms such as Audible.
Indeed, many of our books have existing audiobook versions. The reason for needing a new recording is related to copyright law. As an educational non-profit, Learning Ally has the right to create audio versions of copyrighted material because of the population we serve, those who struggle to read. This includes those with dyslexia, visual impairment, physical disabilities that make accessing text difficult, or other barriers to reading. We operate under the Marrakesh Treaty, which is an international copyright agreement designed to help ensure access to printed material to those that would otherwise be denied.
So we rely on talented volunteers like you to record our books even when other versions exist. One additional and unique feature that Learning Ally provides is that our final product for Literature books is an ebook with sentence-level highlighting that is synced with your voice-- what we call VOICEtext. Other text-to-speech engines can do this, but not with human-read audio.
Also, using Learning Ally's catalog means that students can access thousands of books, most often through their school, without having to purchase individual audio-only titles, the combined cost of which would render them inaccessible to most of our students. So you should all know that by volunteering, you are creating a tremendously impactful experience for students who struggle to read, potentially changing their educational outcomes (and lives) in the process!
Here's an example of the finished product from a recent popular title. It was made into a movie as well - The Hate U Give:
So.....what is this Marrakesh Treaty?
The Marrakesh Treaty is international copyright law. The treaty allows Learning Ally to produce and record copyrighted audiobooks because we serve kids with learning differences. Marrakesh Treaty, in particular, allows us to provide help to students with a reading deficit, blindness or visual impairment and other physical impairments such as cerebral palsy, etc. Once students are evaluated by qualified educators or medical professional, then they become eligible to use our services.
Marrakesh Treaty, in particular, allows us to provide help to students with a reading deficit,
blindness or visual impairment and other physical impairments.
Studies estimate that 20% of students may be eligible for our services, so the work we do every day is very important and we want to reach more students and individuals who can benefit from our services.
As always, Learning Ally is immensely grateful for the great work done by our volunteers and staff!