Education Perspectives

S2 EP9 Transforming Struggling Readers: Insights from Dr. Joe Lockavitch

May 09, 2024 Liza Holland Season 2 Episode 9
S2 EP9 Transforming Struggling Readers: Insights from Dr. Joe Lockavitch
Education Perspectives
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Education Perspectives
S2 EP9 Transforming Struggling Readers: Insights from Dr. Joe Lockavitch
May 09, 2024 Season 2 Episode 9
Liza Holland



Dr. Joe Lockavitch

Founder, President, Author Failure Free Reading 

Introduction of Guest BIO – 

With a remarkable background as a former teacher, school psychologist, professor, and special education director, Dr. Joe Lockavitch is a true pioneer in the field of literacy education. He’s not just an educator; he’s the author and developer of groundbreaking programs like The Failure Free Reading Program, Joseph’s Readers Talking Software for Non-Readers, and Verbal Master-An Accelerated Vocabulary Program.

Dr. Joe’s passion for empowering students with chronic reading challenges has led him to train countless teachers, parents, and administrators nationwide. His innovative approach has been featured on PBS NewsHour and national radio shows, and he’s been recognized in Who’s Who in American Education.

 Join us as we explore Dr. Joe’s journey, insights, and his unwavering belief that changing instructional approaches can unlock the hidden reading potential in every student.



Agents of Change: Leaders/Innovators

  •  30,000 Ft. View – Why so we, as a society invest in education?
  • What drew you to education?
  • Tell us about your solutions for reading success
  • Options for reading success
  • What are the biggest challenges to you?
  • What would you like decision makers to know?

Podcast/book shoutouts



Education Perspectives is edited by Shashank P at

Intro and Outro by Dynamix Productions


Support the Show.

Education Perspectives is edited by Shashank P at

Intro and Outro by Dynamix Productions

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Show Notes Transcript



Dr. Joe Lockavitch

Founder, President, Author Failure Free Reading 

Introduction of Guest BIO – 

With a remarkable background as a former teacher, school psychologist, professor, and special education director, Dr. Joe Lockavitch is a true pioneer in the field of literacy education. He’s not just an educator; he’s the author and developer of groundbreaking programs like The Failure Free Reading Program, Joseph’s Readers Talking Software for Non-Readers, and Verbal Master-An Accelerated Vocabulary Program.

Dr. Joe’s passion for empowering students with chronic reading challenges has led him to train countless teachers, parents, and administrators nationwide. His innovative approach has been featured on PBS NewsHour and national radio shows, and he’s been recognized in Who’s Who in American Education.

 Join us as we explore Dr. Joe’s journey, insights, and his unwavering belief that changing instructional approaches can unlock the hidden reading potential in every student.



Agents of Change: Leaders/Innovators

  •  30,000 Ft. View – Why so we, as a society invest in education?
  • What drew you to education?
  • Tell us about your solutions for reading success
  • Options for reading success
  • What are the biggest challenges to you?
  • What would you like decision makers to know?

Podcast/book shoutouts



Education Perspectives is edited by Shashank P at

Intro and Outro by Dynamix Productions


Support the Show.

Education Perspectives is edited by Shashank P at

Intro and Outro by Dynamix Productions

Liza Holland [00:00:02]:
Welcome to education perspectives. I am your host, Liza Holland. This is a podcast that explores the role of education in our society from a variety of lenses. Education needs to evolve to meet the needs of today and the future. Solving such huge issues requires understanding. Join me as we begin to explore the many perspectives of education.

Liza Holland [00:00:28]:
For over 30 years, doctor Jo has been helping school districts across the nation turn their non readers into readers quickly, easily, and within budget. Training teachers, parents, and volunteers in accelerating the vocabulary, comprehension, expressive fluency, and confidence of chronically failing students of all ages is his unique expertise. Doctor Joe has over a dozen published peer reviewed research articles in national and international journals including Brain Impact Research published by Brain Imaging Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University. We are delighted to have doctor Jo Lachovich with us today on Education Perspectives. Okay. Doctor Joe Lachovich, welcome to Education Perspectives.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:01:23]:
Thank you, Liza. What an honor to be with you and to be with your audience. I just, I've been listening of your previous podcasts and to be on such a distinguished podcast is just exciting.

Liza Holland [00:01:36]:
Well, we are delighted to have you and looking forward to digging into the great work that you have been doing in education. So let me hit you with the first question. From a 30,000 foot view, why do you think that we, as a society, invest in education?

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:01:52]:
It's the key to success. It's as simple as that. I'm a product of it. I am a, 2nd generation American. My father was a, was first. His grandfather was came from Europe at the turn of the century, ended up a very bright man, ended up, working in the mines. My father was one of 5, and he equally bright, very creative, had a good school at 16 in order to also go into the mines at that time to work. So I'm the first one in my family with, with a college degree.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:02:29]:
It gives you the opportunity to experience things other individuals don't have. So how's that for an answer?

Liza Holland [00:02:38]:
That's an excellent answer and so rooted in our American experience. That is that is marvelous, and all the way to doctor.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:02:46]:
Eliza, it is the American experience. That is the single, to me most important variable. There's a direct correlation between education and success. The greater your education, the greater education, the greater your success. You no one can dispute that.

Liza Holland [00:03:02]:
I love it. And you can't take it away from you either?

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:03:05]:
No. No. Not at all.

Liza Holland [00:03:07]:
So what drew you to education for your profession?

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:03:10]:
Well, again, it was I can say by accident, it's always one of those things that you stumble in. I was, again, because of my parents' background, my mom had a 7th and 8th grade education. Again, bright, competent, wonderful family to to wonderful person to have as a as a mother and equally wonderful as a father, but they were very security conscious. And so when I got my undergraduate degree, one of the things that that was most secure and also in our eyes prestigious was education of being a teacher. To say that I was a teacher and and to feel being a teacher was just, quite an honor, and I've never never lost that at all. Well, it's

Liza Holland [00:03:58]:
a wonderful thing to be able to make your parents proud that way.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:04:02]:
Well, yeah. And also, it it's an extremely honorable profession.

Liza Holland [00:04:05]:
It absolutely is. And you have put some real focus on reading. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do and what kind of impact that you hope to have?

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:04:17]:
Yeah. I have you know, I'm a former classroom teacher, university professor, school psychologist, special ed director. And at one time, I had an opportunity to do similar national talk show. So I love to talk. But, when I started, I found that, I ended up being in special education. I started working in inner city, working with, students who were at that time emotionally disturbed. And then I, I have my master's degree from Southern Connecticut State University in Special Ed. My first real job was working at junior high, special needs kids.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:04:56]:
And I found that no matter what I did, there were still kids that weren't responding. There were kids that are, that just were not responding. So it started me on a quest. Now I've only been on that quest close to 50 years, but, all things being equal, I've been searching for an answer to this question as one teacher once said as I was giving a talk. And she said, Doctor Joe, all things being equal, what do you do with the kid who can't read a lick? What do you do with the kid who can't read a lick? And that was my quest. And when I started, I had the opportunity to my doctorate's from Boston University. So I was in the Greater Boston area. I had the opportunity to go to many, many talks given by many, many experts and I would be the 1st in there, sitting in the 1st row and couldn't wait.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:05:50]:
And the audience was there. The room was packed. And about midway through, you could start to hear rustling and start to hear people starting to move because it was the same thing that I heard over and over again, Eliza. And it was while they could tell you what was wrong, they couldn't tell you what to do. So that was my quest. And that's my expertise. That is what does the research say about A, why these kids can't do as well as their achieving peers And b, what type of curricular adjustments? What what could be done to help them? Take a breath because that was a long winded explanation.

Liza Holland [00:06:33]:
Well, you know, doctor Jo, that resonates with me so much because we have an alarming number of kids who have not been able to read effectively despite the traditional modeling and whatnot. And it's exciting to me to see things like the science of reading really getting put forward to try to look into that data and whatnot. And the practical applications are totally my jam. So I would love to get your thoughts on what are those practical applications that you have identified? What can we do? What can our listeners do? What can parents do?

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:07:12]:
Sure. Well, first of all, I want to I think it's it's important to know where I'm coming from and terminology that I use. So let me just put this in perspective. Eliza, if we were to take the world's 12 leading reading researchers, put them in one room with 1 entrance and put an armed guard at that door and told them that they would they're not allowed to leave until they had a universal definition of what reading is and b, how it should be taught, they literally would starve to death before they ever came out that door. Wow. And what I'm saying is this, there is a broad range of opinion in terms of what to do, how to attack it and what does the research say. Now, what I'd like to do is to give you what I believe is the one universal reading research fact that you can take and that your audience can bet their house on. It's never been violated.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:08:17]:
How's that for a That would

Liza Holland [00:08:19]:
be fabulous.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:08:19]:
Screaming you. Yes. Okay. Well, here it is. Are you ready?

Liza Holland [00:08:25]:
Waiting with bated breath.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:08:26]:
All reading programs work, but they don't work for all students. There you go. Do you know that there has never been a large scale, small scale reading research study to show 100% success with all students?

Liza Holland [00:08:49]:
That doesn't surprise me.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:08:51]:
If that's the case, then you have to you have to realize that there is no universal one way. And so in my research, and by the way, I have to make one more distinction, then we're ready to go. And don't let me forget the three characteristics and why we got the kids. Fair enough? Yep. My testee, I've got a pop quiz for you and for your listeners. And it's not, no one will fail and I'm listeners and it's not, no one will fail and I'm not being tricky, but are you ready?

Liza Holland [00:09:22]:
I'm ready.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:09:23]:
Here we go. Reading comprehension. Now let me say it again. Reading comprehension. Liza, here's here's here's the test. How many words did you just hear?

Liza Holland [00:09:39]:
Lordy, I have no clue because I was so focused on those two words about reading comprehension.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:09:45]:
Okay. So what that that's it. That's what I just said. So how many words did you just hear? 2. 2. Would you believe, in my opinion, that reading researchers, when presented with that, actually hear 3 words?

Liza Holland [00:10:06]:
Do tell.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:10:08]:
Do you wanna know what they hear?

Liza Holland [00:10:10]:
Yes, please.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:10:11]:
They hear reading and comprehension.

Liza Holland [00:10:16]:

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:10:17]:
So many of them treat reading as separate from comprehension. And many of the many of the projects that are going on are designed exclusively to teach word identification or word attack under the assumption that once that occurs, comprehension will automatically unfold. But that's not true.

Liza Holland [00:10:46]:
But our system is set up that way. You know, I mean, they teach reading through 3rd grade and then 4th grade they start to focus on comprehension and God forbid if you haven't gotten it by the 3rd grade.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:10:56]:
Okay. And that's one of my arguments. My arguments is what are they really teaching k through 3? Are they teaching reading by my definition, which is gaining meaning from the printed page? Or are they teaching simply word attack, word recognition under the guise that they have to have that in order to move forward, which then gets to my three characteristics. How am I doing so far?

Liza Holland [00:11:23]:
You're doing great. I didn't have to, I didn't have to remind you about those characteristics either.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:11:28]:
Okay. And and let me also say one thing, what my belief is and what my, 35 years of, of direct experience out there on the tight rope, starting my own business, as you well know, no safety net. I must be doing something right because it's a hell of a long time. But if there's one universal, I believe that we're underestimating the ability level of chronically struggling kids. Here's my gift to your audience. The enemy is not the teacher. It's not the parents. It's not the students.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:12:02]:
It's not the administrator. The enemy is the inappropriateness of the instructional approach and the methodology as it pertains to the unique needs of this particular population. And when you change that approach, you change that outcome. And I'll share with you later on what I mean by that in the research that and the data that we're getting in our vocabulary acceleration project in North Carolina in grades 6, 7, and 8. So I'll pause and ask if you have any questions right now, any thoughts, or I'll continue to go on my dialogue.

Liza Holland [00:12:37]:
Okay. I just have a ton of questions, but please continue on because you have it in your head as far as this good progression. So please just keep giving us more things. And I would also love to hear we were talking about different kids having different needs, and so maybe a little bit about the toolkit that you suggest as far as what can we pull out for kids who are not getting it the traditional way.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:13:03]:
K. That's a great question. In my book, The Failure Free Methodology, New Hope for Non Readers, which I am about to do a second edition, I talked about the characteristics of chronically failing students, and I said that they were PD, ED, and LD. And I'm gonna describe that, but I've changed PD because it's too restrictive. And I've replaced PD with ND. And ND is the fur is the first thing. And ND stands for neurologically diverse. You have to look at brain research.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:13:34]:
You have to look at at how we're made. And no 2 individuals are alike. No 2 individuals think alike, and all of us come into this world with different characteristics. So my methodology, my approach flies in the face of traditional interventions because it's a CS intervention rather than an RD intervention. Now I know you're gonna say, doctor Joe, CSRD. Why don't you explain that? Am I correct?

Liza Holland [00:14:06]:
Oh, yeah.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:14:07]:
It's a great question.

Liza Holland [00:14:09]:
Academics love their acronyms, I tell you.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:14:11]:
I know. I've got more coming. I got a lot for it. It. But RD stands for the phrase remediation of the deficit. Remediation of the debt. The student is having difficult. Kid doesn't get phonics.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:14:25]:

Liza Holland [00:14:25]:

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:14:26]:
Okay? And we know that that's the case. We know that there are segments of kids that don't have a good ear for sounds that, you could go, and they'll go, and you'll dance around the room going, and finally, you'll say the words cat, and the kid will say, when it's done with tell me so in the 1st place. Right? So we know that. We know that there are segments of kids who have learned how to decode, but you put a pay, you pay a put a page in front of them. And while they get every word on the page right, they don't pause the commas. They don't stop at periods. They read with a monotone voice, and then you ask them what they've read. They look you dead in the eye and say, I don't know.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:15:04]:
Beats me. Because they're thinking that is getting the words right as opposed to gaining meaning from the printed page. To me, that that makes no damn sense whatsoever. Because my research, when as an applied researcher, as a student of reading research, if there's one thing that I've seen in my great quest for the answer was that there was no answer because every time I went to look at the answer and every time I went to look at the broad brush, what I found was you had to put 3 or 4 more coats in some areas because it didn't take. And if there's anything that I saw, I came up with the notion of what I call the 30% factor. Now, the 30% factor is really simple. I don't care what approach you're using. You can almost immediately assume that 30% of those kids who are using that approach are not gonna do well on it simply because there's a mismatch.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:16:01]:
And that's when, because there's a mismatch between their learning style and the demands of the teaching. And that's when I came up with the notion of what we've got to do is CS. Now 99.9% of the current reading interventions that are out there are RD interventions. They're designed to remediate a supposed deficit. The problem with that is if the kids got the deficit, generally speaking, such a remediation is labor intensive, takes too long, and very rarely does it work completely. And in many cases, we're talking about loss. We're talking about years trying to catch up to this. And that's when the kids get further and further and further behind and Frida Hiebert's work is really, really straight at that University of California, Riverside.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:16:55]:
And what she's finding is, is that the issue isn't the recognition of words by 4th grade. The issue is gaining meaning. The issues, and I'm gonna give you in my 3rd characteristics, what that means. Again, I'll take a deep breath and ask, how am I doing and where and is this meaningful or am I running my mouth too much?

Liza Holland [00:17:16]:
Oh, I'm fascinated. The lifelong learner in me is totally up for this, so please continue on. And, again, that whole if there are any particular tips that the average person that is interacting with kids can apply. Maybe I'd add that.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:17:32]:
The next two characteristics will get that. And by the way, I'll give that, and then they can contact me at

Liza Holland [00:17:42]:
That's perfect. We'll put it in show notes as well. We'll put links and all that kinda good stuff.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:17:46]:
Yeah. So what's ED? ED is environmentally denied. What we know is this. Now here's the first three words that I want to share with your audience. If the purpose is to gain meaning from the printed page And one more thing, Frida Ebert's work, and I'll come back to that as well, which is text does matter in the teaching of reading. Text does matter in the teaching of reading. What are those three words? The three words are reading is relating. Reading is relating.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:18:15]:
Let me say it again, parents. Let me say it again. Educators, let me say it again. Building principles of superintendents. The more a student knows about a topic before reading it, the more they will understand that topic while they're reading it. We have large segments of kids who are coming to school who are economically deprived. And you look at the data and you look at the who are the kids that are failing the most, the ones that are failing the most are those kids who are coming from, economic deprivation. They're coming from huge gaps in background knowledge.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:18:52]:
So it's hard for them to relate to something because they don't have the environmental background experience. And then look what's happening, right now in the United States. We're getting large, large, large numbers of individuals coming into the schools and into our society with huge cultural discrepancies between where they're coming from and what their culture demands and the culture in the United States. And so, again, we have a huge gap. And by the way, I don't think I said clearly what CS was. I said RD was the remediation of the deficit. CS stands capitalized on strength, capitalize on strength. Well, it's true.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:19:35]:
I mean, let me give you again, you talked about the science of reading and Lord, again, it's a good program. It's a good philosophy, but it's not rock solid. It's not rock solid. And so anybody that presents it as firm knowledge and irrefutable is wrong. Now I'm not anti phonic of reading, but I am anti broad brush phonics of reading because of what I said on the 30% factor. So I'm gonna tell you right now that you can talk to any teacher there. She's gonna tell you about kids who are having pronounced difficulty decoding. And parents, if you've got a preschooler and you're sitting there with rhymes and you go, man, can, fan, tan, and your child says elephant, you got an issue here.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:20:27]:
Okay? Now, is there something wrong with the child? The answer is no, no. Is there something wrong with the methodology? The answer is no, no, no, no for 70%. But let me give you a statistic that will clearly, there is a viable alternative for those kids who can't learn initially to read, and I'm not anti phonic. I'm anti phonic first for some kids. And let me give you three words that show you that there is a because there's a belief out there that if you don't learn letters and letter sounds first, you can't go on to read. Isn't that, one of the beliefs that you hear often and often?

Liza Holland [00:21:08]:
I do. Yeah.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:21:09]:
And I'm gonna tell your audience that that's not correct. That's not correct for some, but again, I'm gonna preface it because people are gonna come back to Doctor. Lachovich is anti phonic. I'm not anti phonics. I've got 5 children. 2 of my kids learn to read phonetically. Why would I stop that? I'd be stupid, but it gets back to capitalize on strength. I also know that there are some kids out there who are getting f and d's and intensive intervention because their learning style doesn't match the teaching style.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:21:44]:
And if we just change the teaching style to match the learning style, things happen. And let me give you what I mean. I'm going to give you 3 words to prove my point. You ready? I'm ready. Dick and?

Liza Holland [00:21:58]:

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:22:01]:
Dick and Jane. Now do you know how many students in the forties, fifties, and sixties learned to read with meaning comprehension and fluency? And by the way, if your child or if your student is not reading with expression, then they're not reading for meaning.

Liza Holland [00:22:19]:
That's a really good indicator.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:22:21]:
Absolutely. Because if they're reading with expression, then they're comprehending. If they're not reading with expression, then they are not comprehending. Okay. So let's go back to my question. Do you know how many individuals learn to read for meaning through Dick and Jane in the forties, fifties, and sixties?

Liza Holland [00:22:41]:
Honestly, I don't know that answer.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:22:43]:
75,000,000. So would one say that it was a viable methodology and approach?

Liza Holland [00:22:49]:
I guess it depends upon what the population that was taught was.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:22:53]:
Do you know for those 75,000,000 how many lessons of phonics they experienced through the learning of Dick and Jane?

Liza Holland [00:23:02]:
Likely none.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:23:04]:
Not one. And yet many of them are like me, doctorate, educated, successful. Now I'm also gonna share with you, I'm gonna solve the great murder mystery. And you know what that was? Who killed Dick and Jane?

Liza Holland [00:23:22]:
Good question.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:23:24]:
Dick and Jane was killed. And you know who killed Dick and Jane?

Liza Holland [00:23:28]:
Who killed Dick and Jane?

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:23:30]:
Liza, the 30% who didn't respond to sight based reading approach. In the 19 fifties, a book came out, Why Johnny Can't Read, and it was written by Rudolf Flesch. And he made an elaborate case on the, why Dick and Jane violated the principles and the science of reading and that kids should learn through letters and letter sounds. They should have a structured reading approach. And he advocated the teaching of

Liza Holland [00:24:05]:
Comics based education. Yeah.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:24:07]:
Based education. So it was those 30% of the kids who were getting asked. And by the way, many of them were parents of, middle and upper income, oh, excuse me, were children of middle and upper income parents who had a lot of influence. And they saw that their kids were in a, in an approach that just didn't work. It didn't work. So before I go further, I'm gonna ask my question again. Am I anti phonics?

Liza Holland [00:24:36]:
No. Absolutely not. But you're anti one solution fits all.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:24:41]:
God bless you. God bless you. To me, the simple fact is if you've got a child who is sitting in a, in a classroom and you have to ask the question, what is the primary method being taught? And then if that's the case, you then have to ask what is a viable alternative to this method? And that's what I do. I mean, right now, my failure free reading approach, I'd go out and I'd say, and I literally started it with $700 in the bank, 3 children under the age of 10 and a wife that said, well, what the hell you've done crazy things before let's start a business. And I would go out there and I would do it on 2 calling schools, cold calling. And I would do it when I got a decision maker. And I said, I'd like to come and do a live demonstration at your school or at your, in your prison or wherever the heck it What were your conditions? Oh, that's a good question.

Liza Holland [00:25:41]:
What were your conditions?

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:25:42]:
Oh, that's a good questions. The first is I wanna work with the worst kid you got. Well, that got their attention.

Liza Holland [00:25:49]:

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:25:50]:
And what's the second? If you don't see a dramatic change in their expressive fluency, comprehension, and confidence within 30 minutes, I'll work out the door and they'll never hear from me again.

Liza Holland [00:25:59]:
Wow. Within 30 minutes, you're finding

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:26:01]:
that Within 30 minutes. Now I'm gonna make this statement. I didn't cure anybody in 30 minutes. Okay. But in 30 minutes, that was sufficient to show that there was a high impact that when you change the approach, all of a sudden you change, you change the performance of that kid. So in the first edition of my book, I talk, I get a call from the assistant superintendent of Special Education Bronx, New York, and this was many, many years ago. And he said, alright, doctor Lakovich, I've heard these claims. And he said, I'm gonna call you.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:26:34]:
When you come to South, when you come to the Bronx and do a live demonstration with one of the kids that we don't know what to do with. I said, fine. So I go in there at that time and look at South Bronx looked like war torn Europe. That's how bad it was going through metal detectors when there weren't even metal detectors. And they bring in this young man, African American, Latino, and he's, he's a 9th grader. He's learning to say, he came into their program at 6th grade reading at a, I was a virtual non reader. And by the way, no student is a non non reader. Okay.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:27:09]:
That just doesn't exist. But the reading was so laborious and so restrictive and his knowledge base was was so small that for all intents and purposes, he he was a non reader. So when they measured him, he was reading below a 1st grade level. So 3 years later, after their intensive interventions, everything that they were doing, he's coming in. They want me to see him. He's a 9th grader. What he's reading at now, 3 years later, below the first grade level.

Liza Holland [00:27:40]:
Oh, my God.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:27:41]:
And that's what there are teachers out there that know exactly what I'm talking about. There are kids that they have worked over and over and over and over with, and they have not seen any noticeable growth.

Liza Holland [00:27:54]:
But isn't that the definition of insanity to keep doing what you different result?

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:27:59]:
We've seen, but we've got it in

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:28:00]:
such a way that we've got it tentacled out now that if the kid doesn't get it slight to what's

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:28:05]:
done in the classroom, then we're gonna give him a small group intensive supplemental intervention of the same thing. And when it doesn't work, then that's called tier 1 intervention. Then in tier 2, we're gonna give them a small group. And then if that doesn't work, we're gonna give them 1 on 1, same thing, same thing, same thing, greater intensity. They'll call it more structured. They'll do all of that, but it's gearing toward the same learning path. Wow. So now the kid comes in and I'm sitting there and if you hear me, my kid, I tell this story over and over and over again, but I I hope you're I don't bore your audience.

Liza Holland [00:28:40]:
When it's effective.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:28:42]:
I sit there. There's the assistant superintendent, his team. They bring this young man in. I tell the young young boy he's not in trouble, that I just wanna try a new approach with him. And if it works, that'd be great, but I want his opinion. If he doesn't mind, I had promised him I won't embarrass. So I sit there with him and I pull out the 5 words and and I'm gonna teach him a passage. Okay.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:29:04]:
That's the goal. If it's a good fit, you'll see him reading with comprehension expression from the passage. It's just common sense. So I show the show him the 5 words and and I say, do you know this word, this word, this word, this word, and this word? To which he says, no, no, no, no, and no. I show him the passage. I said, too easy, too hard. Just right. He says, it's too hard.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:29:26]:
And I can't do this. Now I'm looking at the assistant superintendent and his team. And if looks could kill, they're looking at the words, they're looking at the passage. And essentially what they're saying is we've we've invited a madman here. We've got to get the police to get this man out because there's no way under the face of this planet that he's gonna be able to to read this passage or learn these words too hard, too hard, too hard, too hard. Impossible. And that's has my mission has my passion started to show you?

Liza Holland [00:29:59]:
Absolutely. I'm feeling it.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:30:00]:
We are underestimating special ed

Liza Holland [00:30:04]:
adage, a

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:30:09]:
lot special ed adage, a lot of times, I once had a a professor years ago that said special education is neither special nor it's education in many ways because the kids are just getting same old versions of same old. So my mantra is is simple. These kids don't need slower. They don't need lower, and they don't need less. If we're gonna do anything with them, they need faster, they need higher, and they need more. Now I flew all the way up to New York on my dime. Let me at least show the methodology, show the approach and see if it works. I come to the first word.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:30:43]:
And first thing I said, do you know this word? And he goes, well, let me ask you something. Do you know anybody now remember I'm in the South Bronx. Okay. And I asked, do you know, you ever know if anybody's gotten in trouble with the law? Oh yeah. And when they get in trouble with the law and then they get arrested, what do they need? And he says, a lawyer. I said, do you want to know what a fancy name for a lawyer is? What attorney, attorney is nothing more than a fancy name for a lawyer. I said, who brought you all miss John brought me down here today? Okay. Do you know her again? But she was with you.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:31:24]:
Right? K. And she accompanied you to this class. Yeah. So accompany means to be with some. Now, do you have many friends? Yeah. Do you have some that you like better than others? No. So you have many acquaintances? Yeah, we do. Now reading is relating.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:31:46]:
Reading is relating. Reading is relating. Makes sense, Liza? Oh, yeah. Okay.

Liza Holland [00:31:52]:
Context and understanding. Wow. Yeah.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:31:56]:
20 minutes later, he's reading, as I'm going to say right now and with this, the attorney and her acquaintance were astounded at the abundant size of the rock singer's house. The house was large enough to accommodate over a 100 people. Who just read that? Oh, I did. Too easy, too hard, just write. Too easy. Well now wait, wait a minute. Who just took it from too hard to too easy in 20 minutes? Well I did. And all of a sudden his head gets a little bit straight.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:32:34]:
And I said, well, now here's where it gets sad. Okay. This is my mission. And when I created this, I really created it more as a reading attitude adjustment rather than a reading intervention, just to show these kids that they can do faster, they can do higher, they can do more. They're their own worst enemies.

Liza Holland [00:32:53]:

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:32:54]:
If we don't jolt them with something that they don't think they can do and show them that they can, we're never gonna impact.

Liza Holland [00:33:00]:
Well, they've been told that they're deficient and they can't read and they can't and they can't and they can't for how many years now.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:33:06]:
Know why? Because they've been in kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade. They can't. They can't. They can't. And many of them by 2nd grade have dropped out of school, and they're just waiting 16 years old to finish the damn process. Okay. Yeah. And then they end up joining the largest growing class in the United States.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:33:24]:
You asked, we started this with why why do I think education is important? Because you know what the largest growing class is in the United States, Liza? The underclass.

Liza Holland [00:33:35]:

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:33:35]:
We got a dichotomy between those that do well and those that think they can't do well and they drop out. And then they seek things that make them feel well. And sadly, most of them are terrible options. So now I say to him, I say he's a 9th grader. I say, what grade do you think this is? The one you just took from too easy to too hard in 20 minutes. He looks at me and the first thing out of his mouth is 6th grade. First thing, he's going 3 grade levels below where he is. So I say, try again.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:34:14]:
You know what he says this time?

Liza Holland [00:34:16]:

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:34:17]:
tell. 5th. Try again.

Liza Holland [00:34:20]:
Oh no. Oh no.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:34:21]:
4th. Try again. I stopped him at second. And then I said, try it again only this time go higher. Higher? Yeah. 7? I said higher. Now, 8th? No. And his shoulders are going back.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:34:40]:
His head is going up. I said, what grade are you in? He says 9th. I said, it's 9th, 10th grade. Now, did I cure him in 30 minutes? Hell no. But the kid that left was not the kid that came in. And I'm based you wanna talk about education and educational research? I'll tell you the biggest educational research fact that everybody can take to the bank, and that's what my whole life is based on. You ready?

Liza Holland [00:35:11]:

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:35:12]:
The little train theory.

Liza Holland [00:35:14]:
Uh-huh. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:35:17]:
I can. I can. I can.

Liza Holland [00:35:19]:
I know I can.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:35:20]:
I know

Liza Holland [00:35:20]:
I can. I know I can.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:35:21]:
So in my in my research in my research, we did we have a dial. We have 11 entry points into the program. We find their current English reading frustration level. We have passages built on critical 1st grade and second grade and third grade vocabulary. And by the way, let me tell let me give you some good news too. You know, a lot of times people say, well, if he doesn't learn if he doesn't learn how to decode, you, he's gonna be exposed to 5,000,000 words over time and no one, no one, no one can memorize 5,000,000 words. So memorization must be bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Let me also tell you the good news.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:35:57]:
The good news is is that the English language is highly redundant, that there's a corpus body of 23 100 words. And then add to that, their word families, prefix, the suffixes. But but a mere 23100 word, you don't think that's a lot, do you, over the course of a academic lifetime to learn 23100 words?

Liza Holland [00:36:18]:
I don't. And quite frankly, from colloquial language, it's a far smaller number than that. So

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:36:24]:
Are you ready for this? Yeah. When they master those 23 100 words, they will be able to recognize 92% of the text that they come into contact in through grades 1 through 9.

Liza Holland [00:36:37]:
Wow. Talk about powerful.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:36:40]:
Yeah. But this gets to Fred Ebert's work where she says text does matter in the teaching of reading. The first thing that you find out is so many of these kids are being taught via flashcards. Well, flashcards aren't gonna do it. That's number 1. The other is is that vast majority of these words are phonetically irregular. They violate the principle of key rules. Mhmm.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:37:05]:
And the last is, is that if you're going to teach it, and by the way, that gets to, I I've done ND neurologically distinct or different, ED, environmentally denied, and then here's the last one, LD. And LD is is the heart and soul of my life, my project, my everything. If I gave your audience a one word key to dramatic that will dramatically improve the reading comprehension of their kids, would it be worth listening to me?

Liza Holland [00:37:41]:

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:37:42]:
You ready? Yeah. I'm ready. Here's the key to academic success and life. One word, vocabulary. Mhmm. Vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary. The kids who are failing the greatest and are having the greatest time in terms of standardized reading tests, we now know that 3rd grade highest achieving students have a vocabulary superior to 12th grade lowest achieving students. If you elevate their vocabulary, you will elevate their performance and life.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:38:25]:
We're a highly verbal society. Individual, you're judged the moment you open up your mouth. So if we can get them to where they can command and listen and comprehend at higher levels and express at higher levels, then they'll be better, which then gets to 3 more things I wanna share with your audience. And that is input precedes output, input precedes output. Now what that means, Liza, is this. From this moment on, if you're a parent, if you're a teacher, if you're administrator, if you're a business, I don't care what you are. If you wanna help an individual, you have to remember, you're a you're a vocabulary teacher first, you're a reading teacher second. You're a content teacher 3rd, and you can't change the order.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:39:09]:
If you wanna elevate, you have to get language into their system, which means you have to get as much into their system as possible. Now, the more you get into the system, the greater success they're gonna have, but you have to remember this, input, getting it into the system, precedes output. So the more you get it in by speaking, talking, reading, the more they're going to be able to express. But developmentally, there's generally at least a 6 month gap between what they can understand and what they can express. And far too often is we're judging them on their ability to express rather than their ability to understand. So when we have 5 children, I'm getting ready, and we're getting ready for our 14th grandchild and they all live within 5 miles of our house. I don't know what the hell that phrase empty nester means. It does not exist in my life, but I'm also blessed and I'm thankful for that.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:40:11]:
But when my first child test was we found that my wife was pregnant, that waiting in the pregnancy, I would speak to Tess in the in the womb. I would say, Tess, this is your dad speaking. The word for today is kinesiology. Kinesiology means, now do I, I just wanted, look, if I learned one thing as a second generation American who has a doctorate, If there is something that I saw in graduate school and above graduate school was I wasn't exposed to enough words. I've been spending X number of years of my life trying to enhance my vocabulary, things that upper income kids just took for granted. Now are they brighter than me? I don't think so. Were they able to digest more easily graduate work? Yes. Because they knew the terminology.

Liza Holland [00:41:06]:
And just like our SATs and ACTs and all that kind of stuff with the vocabulary that even the greatest haven't seen. Wow.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:41:14]:
I've got I've got 7th and 8th grade inner city kids in North Carolina right now who are working with SAT level vocabulary and reading passages with complete meaning. And what's amazing is in our diagnostic prescriptive, we start them at the point where they say this is too hard. I can't do it. So we put them in the most challenging material, and then we use the most comprehensible text, text that that eliminate the roadblocks to reading comprehension. And what are the roadblocks to reading comprehension? Uncommon names, dates, and places. They can't relate to it. Number 2, awkward sentence structure. Number 3, sophisticated or initially sophisticated vocabulary, and then the biggest one is lack of repetition.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:42:06]:
What we know is this, as the literacy level drops, the need for repetition proportionally increases and traditional interventions are not repetitious enough for our kids when they're placed at a challenge level. If they're placed in text that they can easily do, they're bored. But if you raise them 2 or 3 grade levels higher than one would anticipate, all of a sudden, repetition isn't boredom. It's the mother of learners.

Liza Holland [00:42:32]:
Wow. I

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:42:33]:
have I've run out of time, but I want the parents to know When they go there, there's actually, if they scroll down, they'll see that there's an opportunity for them to do one of 2 things. Number 1, if they're an administrator or a superintendent or someone truly wanting to make a difference, we can set up a consultation and I'll be very happy to explain what we can do and how we can accelerate the reading ability of those kids that are pulling their scores down. Because for every 6 kids you have testing below the 20th percentile, we're seeing kids testing at the 9th percentile. We in one middle school, we had kids, small number, but still their average reading percentile on North Carolina end of grade was 5th percentile in the pretest. In the post test, it was the 27th percentile. Now we did that 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week for under 4 weeks. Wow.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:43:44]:
So we can accelerate. It's an acceleration process. So the first thing they can do is sign up for consultation. No charge. It's between and it's me. Nobody else. It's me. And the second is is that if you go down a little bit lower, we have a, the beauty of my methodology and approach is that it works quickly.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:44:02]:
So we have a sample lesson where we'll find what their current reading frustration level is, and then we'll put them in a failure free lesson and, give them the opportunity to to see whether or not it's a good fit. And then if they want, they can order it. It's not expensive, Less than a dollar and a half a day, but, you know, it's where we're at.

Liza Holland [00:44:23]:
Oh, doctor Joe, I tell you, this has been a phenomenal little did I know this should should've been a 2 part series because you've had so so much good information for us here.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:44:32]:
Well, I'm ready for part 2. When you're ready, we can do part 2, and and then we'll get we'll get into more specifics and and and things that that parents and and educators can do.

Liza Holland [00:44:45]:
Awesome. Well, I know you have another appointment, so I'm going to let you go, but I wanna thank you so much. This has been

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:44:52]:
Oh, I I hope I didn't my mouth too much. And my biggest mistake is I cut people off too much. My wife tells me that all the time. 42 years, I don't know if the marriage is gonna last.

Liza Holland [00:45:04]:
Somehow, I have faith that it will. But, again, thank you for sharing because I have learned a ton, and I'm so inspired by this, methodology that you're looking at for these kids that have not had a solution and you're providing solutions, and I am just a I'm a super fan.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:45:24]:
You gotta look at what they're doing and you gotta forget RD and move into CS and and, you know, forget remediation and capitalize on their strength. Change the instruction, and you change performance outcome. It's as simple as that. And I can help.

Liza Holland [00:45:40]:
There you go. Well, I will let you go, and thank you again. Appreciate you.

Dr. Joe Lockavitch [00:45:45]:
Thank you, Liza.

Liza Holland [00:45:48]:
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Education Perspectives. Feel free to share your thoughts on our Facebook page. Let us know which education perspectives you would like to hear or share. Please subscribe and share with your friends.