Dr. Joseph Lockavitch

FOUNDER OF FAILURE FREE READING

 

BIOGRAPHY

Dr. Joseph F. Lockavitch, a former classroom teacher, school psychologist, university professor, special education director and applied researcher, is the author and developer of: The Failure Free Reading Program, Don’t Close the Book on Your Not-Yet Readers, Joseph’s Readers Talking Software for Non-Readers, Verbal Master-An Accelerated Vocabulary Program, The Test of Lateral Awareness and Directionality, The Failure Free Reading Methodology: New Hope For Non-Readers, and Faster, Higher and More! 44 Proven Ways to Dramatically Improve the Vocabulary, Fluency and Reading Comprehension of “Chronically Failing” Students.

Dr. Lockavitch is also the author of numerous published research articles. His most recent work can be found in the Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, the Journal of Learning DisabilitiesSpecial Services in the SchoolsThe Journal of At-Risk Issues, and The Florida Reading Quarterly.

Neuroscientists at MIT and Carnegie-Mellon University showed dramatic first time evidence of actual brain rewiring in the brains of poor readers that used Dr. Lockavitch’s Failure Free Reading Program. The study, involving one-year follow-up brain scans, showed dramatic visual evidence that Failure Free Reading’s 100 hour reading intervention actually rebuilt white cortical matter in the under performing brain areas of poor readers, bringing them back to the normal range.

A noted speaker who is listed in Outstanding Teachers in Exceptional Education, Who’s Who in American Education, and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, Dr. Lockavitch has spent the past thirty years training ten of thousands of teachers, parents and administrators across the nation on how to meet the unique needs of America’s non-readers.

Featured on the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and mentioned on national radio shows such as: Tom Joyner, Dr. Laura, Mike Gallegher and Michael Medvid, Dr. Lockavitch holds a Doctorate of Education from Boston University and a Master of Science in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dr. Lockavitch is currently the President of Failure Free Reading – an educational publishing and software development firm housed outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Failure Free Reading has been used by thousands of teachers to serve hundreds of thousands of students in schools across the nation. A national speaker, author, and expert in his field Dr. Lockavitch continues to train and develop educators to meet the unique needs of students caught in the bottom 0-15%.

For the following twenty years,
I have actively developed a
research-based
methodology that
would work for the
estimated 440,000 students
sitting in America’s classroom with
a total sight vocabulary of less than
50 fifty words! I called that
methodology The Failure Free
Reading Methodology, because it
was so successful with these
hard-core non-responders.

-Dr. Joe Lockavitch

“ Today, non-readers of all ages

– even secondary students and

adults who gave up a long time ago –

are experiencing what it feels like

to read for meaning, with

engagement and confidence.

In just the first lesson,

they realize ‘I can read.’

— Dr. Joe Lockavitch

Who is Dr. Lockavitch

Background

Accolades

Dr. Joseph F. Lockavitch, a former classroom teacher, school psychologist, university professor, special education director and applied researcher, is the author and developer of: The Failure Free Reading Program, Don’t Close the Book on Your Not-Yet Readers, Joseph’s Readers Talking Software for Non-Readers, Verbal Master-An Accelerated Vocabulary Program, The Test of Lateral Awareness and Directionality, The Failure Free Reading Methodology: New Hope For Non-Readers, and Faster, Higher and More! 44 Proven Ways to Dramatically Improve the Vocabulary, Fluency and Reading Comprehension of “Chronically Failing” Students.

Dr. Lockavitch is also the author of numerous published research articles. His most recent work can be found in the Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, the Journal of Learning DisabilitiesSpecial Services in the SchoolsThe Journal of At-Risk Issues, and The Florida Reading Quarterly.

Neuroscientists at MIT and Carnegie-Mellon University showed dramatic first time evidence of actual brain rewiring in the brains of poor readers that used Dr. Lockavitch’s Failure Free Reading Program. The study, involving one-year follow-up brain scans, showed dramatic visual evidence that Failure Free Reading’s 100 hour reading intervention actually rebuilt white cortical matter in the under performing brain areas of poor readers, bringing them back to the normal range.

A noted speaker who is listed in Outstanding Teachers in Exceptional Education, Who’s Who in American Education, and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, Dr. Lockavitch has spent the past thirty years training ten of thousands of teachers, parents and administrators across the nation on how to meet the unique needs of America’s non-readers.

Featured on the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and mentioned on national radio shows such as: Tom Joyner, Dr. Laura, Mike Gallegher and Michael Medvid, Dr. Lockavitch holds a Doctorate of Education from Boston University and a Master of Science in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dr. Lockavitch is currently the President of Failure Free Reading – an educational publishing and software development firm housed outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Failure Free Reading has been used by thousands of teachers to serve hundreds of thousands of students in schools across the nation. A national speaker, author, and expert in his field Dr. Lockavitch continues to train and develop educators to meet the unique needs of students caught in the bottom 0-15%.

FAQ

What kinds of outcomes can educators expect with Failure Free Reading?

Students begin experiencing comprehension and engagement from the first lesson. They complete the program with sufficient vocabulary, comprehension and fluency necessary for successful participation in remedial and/or core instruction.

Attitudinally, Failure Free Reading takes the blame off both teachers and students. Too often it is assumed that if students can’t read it’s because they don’t want to or they were poorly taught. Teachers tend to blame the students for not trying. Parents blame the teachers for not teaching.

Why? Because they’re frustrated and don’t know who else to blame. This is wrong because the real culprits are materials and methods that fail to meet the needs of the lowest-achieving readers.

What is Failure Free Reading's primary purpose?

The uniquely intensive language scaffolds in our programs give students with severe reading difficulties the opportunity to immediately experience comprehension success, and fluency.

For many students, this is for the first time ever. This experience of success establishes self-efficacy (task-specific confidence), a necessary condition for engagement.

Without sustained engagement, no real learning can occur.

Is Failure Free Reading a 'whole language' intervention?

Absolutely not!

Whole language materials are simply too complex for low-literacy students. They lack the necessary background experiences to relate to the many different story themes, and they don’t have the language base to understand the new terms and idiomatic expressions found in traditional whole language stories.

Why is Failure Free Reading so effective with LD students?

The program provides the high levels of structure and repetition that many LD children need.

As Hargis (1982) stated in his book Teaching Reading to Handicapped Children, “Teachers often complain about inconsistent responses from students who have severe reading problems. ‘They seem to know the words one day but not the next.’

This observation reflects a problem of children not introduced to words in meaningful context with sufficient repetition and who have not as yet been able to do any meaningful reading – often after years in school… They fall into this predicament because there are no published materials with sufficient controls to permit meaningful activities.”

Gates found that as the IQ drops, the need for repetition proportionately increases. Students with IQ’s in the fifties and sixties need to see words hundreds of times before they can independently recognize them.

This is why Failure Free Reading stresses multiple exposures in multiple contexts. They can’t succeed without it.

How is Failure Free Reading different from other reading interventions?

For many students, Failure Free Reading works when nothing else will, or has.

Most reading interventions are designed for struggling readers, or those scoring between the 20th and 50th percentiles on standardized tests (most reading interventions are also alphabetic-based; they teach phonemic awareness and/or phonics).

Failure Free Reading’s highly-structured language instruction is designed for students scoring below this range. The program provides special scaffolds, a non-threatening environment, and the privacy that the very lowest-achieving students generally need in order to build essential language skills, and confidence.

How is vocabulary related to reading comprehension?

Research is clear that vocabulary predicts reading ability, and it should be explicitly taught. Limited exposure to language puts many low-income children at a terrible disadvantage. Such children might know 3,000 words by age 6, while a high-income child might have a vocabulary of 20,000 words. This gap tends to widen the longer students are in school.

Unfortunately, while vocabulary instruction has been demonstrated to improve word knowledge and comprehension, teachers spend little time teaching or reinforcing new vocabulary. At-risk students especially need to be systematically exposed to a large volume of words within meaningful contexts, and to challenging language.

What can I do to improve the reading and vocabulary of my older non-readers?

Combining explicit vocabulary instruction with a direct reading application is highly effective.

“Steve Stahl and Marilyn Fairbanks (1986) summarized research on explicit methods of teaching or promoting vocabulary growth. The general conclusion was that “vocabulary instruction” has a very strong effect … Programs which combine direct explanation of words with reading … are the most effective.”

This is the why Failure Free Reading is first and foremost a highly structured language development program that directly teaches reading.

Why is Failure Free Reading so repetitious?

The average student needs to see a word somewhere between 25 to 45 times prior to independent recognition. Researchers have found nonreaders need much more contact.

Hargis found in a study of students with severe reading difficulties that the single most important criteria for word recognition was not word attack skills (phonics), or I.Q. or background. It was repetition. Poor readers in his study needed to see words an average of 76 times or more before they could recognize each word in isolation for three consecutive times. It didn’t make any difference whether the words were phonetically regular or not. In addition, cognitively-challenged students need pronounced repetition as well.

Some educators may experience the level of repetition in Failure Free Reading as tedious, but to fragile, at-risk learners, and special education pupils with limited cognitive abilities and extremely limited vocabularies, this high level of repetition is essential to learning. Students are not bored because they are working at their level of level of frustration. Boredom in Failure Free Reading is an indication of inappropriate placement.