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Teaching Students with LD and ADHD

Failure Free Reading


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Posted Jan 31, 2002 at 4:47:21 PM
Subject: Failure Free Reading

Has anyone used this program? My special ed director has asked if I would like to have it. The research sounds impressive. I'd be interested in hearing from someone with experience with it. I am currently using PG plus the basel and wonder if this could be an improvement (since I would not be required to use the basel series).

Pat

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 01, 2002 1:37:03 AM

I looked into this and was shocked.

The early levels, which is what I am interested in, are a pure brute memorization program; meaning free and logic free, but a recipe for failure.

I do not know what impressive research you saw.
I fear it was FFR's own proprietary research, and of course they will endorse themselves.

What I saw was a claim that the NIH had endorsed the program. This is false at least 90%.

The NIH made a very very clear statement that systematic synthetic phonics is necessary in every classroom. FFR has *absolutely no* phonics component, not even a bad one, in the beginning levels. I was too disgusted to look at more advanced levels, because I cannot see how a student who starts in their beginning levels could ever get any further.

The NIH made a very very clear statement that comprehension and vocabulary teaching, both direct and indirect, is necessary. FFR has little or no comprehension component at least in the early levels I looked at. (I do not count copying the identical word in sentence A to the blank in identical sentence B as requiring any notable comprehension.)

The NIH also made it clear that guided oral reading is necessary for fluency. FFR does at least have some of that, maybe, although FFR is a brute memorization program so whether one can call this *reading* when it is recitation from memory is a difficult question. And in the early levels there is nothing that can be called reading for meaning or information.

In sum, even the much-maligned Dick and Jane programs were far superior in content and methodology to this FFR program.

In the NIH study which FFR misquoted, the section on comprehension was inconclusive but listed some promising directions for continuing experiment and research. Apparently FFR was listed as having some promising directions here, and they misquoted this as a stamp of support for the entire program.

If my school proposed this as a program, I would absolutely refuse it, and I would question the competence of the people recommending it.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 01, 2002 3:32:36 PM

THe research that I looked at basically said that gosh, kids who practiced the same stories got better at reading the stories.

It's just a repeated-reading program. It doesn't teach skills or sound/symbol connections as PG does. I would *not* replace a basal with it since (depending on the basal of course) at least the storise in the basal are more interesting!

There are much better materials out there.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 01, 2002 5:05:15 PM

The special ed. program in my district bought FFR maybe 5 years ago. We were told we HAD to use it. I did for the first year and then quietly quit. Victoria is right. It is nothing but repetition visually and auditorially of a very limited amount of words. Yes, a child might learn those few words, but there could be no generalization since no skills are taught!

I keep sending my special ed. director things like Lindamood-Bell brochures and web-sites, but so far, the powers that be have no taken the time to do research to see what REALLY works. But I do refuse to use something that ineffective. I do my own thing! (I'm going to copy Victoria's post just in case someone ever asks me why I'm not using FFR!!).

Janis

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 01, 2002 10:59:00 PM

Thanks for your input. I will send the information to my director. It sounds like the program would be a waste of money.

Pat

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 02, 2002 12:40:10 AM

To my mind - and this of course is only one opinion, but I hope an informed opinion - it would be more than a waste of money but actively negative.

Hope you can get something better.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 03, 2002 2:34:26 PM

The people who make up this program know nothing about reading, but they have chosen a title that misleads people. I make a point of putting the words "Failure Free" in quotation marks, to stress that this is not fact, but a sales job.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 07, 2002 11:57:24 AM

I don't know who Victoria is - tutor, radical, crazy or some "phonetic predator" but as a dear friend said "take it from the source". Remember: anybody can do a "drive-by" shooting. As a professional courtesy, perhaps Victoria would share her/his surname, professional credentials and fiduciary affiliation.

As a former classroom teacher, university professor, school psychologist,special education director and parent of five, I have dedicated the past 30 years of my professional life studying the reading research and its application to the plight of the nonreader. More importantly, I tried to take off any dogmatic blinders I had and simply asked " what can we really do for those hardcore students who have not responded to years of traditional remedial instruction - phonics included?"

My research led me to a process that, when followed correctly,
was essentially "failure free" for nonreaders. Key to this was the importance of repetition. The research was clear. Nonreaders needed at least 75-100 exposures per word before they could recognize the word instantaneously. Is this overkill for most? Yes! But not for these students.

A review of programs available showed that traditional remedial approaches did not provide for such an extraordinary amount of repetition. That's why I created my materials. My research closely follows that of Dr. Chuck Hargis, formerly at the University of Tennessee, and the classic research by Gates in the early 30's. I did not create this research. I had no vested interest in it. I merely applied it .

My research also underscores Jean McCormick's review of the literature on the effectiveness of reading programs for nonreaders. Sadly, Dr. McCormick concluded that the prognosis for hard-core nonreaders was not hopeful, but of those programs that came closest to meeting their unique needs, those that stressed "multiple exposures in multiple contexts" had the greatest impact. That is why I stressed a methodology with a coordinated use of text, talking software and teaching.

Please note, that unlike Victoria, I am not stating that my program is suitable for all students in all situations. It works best for those who need help the most - particularly those with "a poor ear for sounds" and have been diagnosed with: auditory aphasia, agnosia or auditory dyslexia. The results achieved with these "phonetically deaf" students were remarkable. Even better, they were replicated in hundreds of sites across the nation. I have now compiled over 75 different studies involving more than 5000 students across grade levels and handicapping conditions.

I saw nonreaders read with fluency and full comprehension from our very first lessons. Better yet, I saw self respect and confidence immediately appear on their faces. Students who couldn't ( often after years of phonetic instruction) read the word "rain" suddenly read and fully understood the word "precipitation". That's why I
risked every dime I had to form a company to save these students. To have it described as "a marketing trap" is an insult.

I have the data, the background and the committment. I will not tolerate attacks from cowards who refuse to put their name and affiliation on their remarks. Such behavior is
nothing more than slander. I welcome debate. I have nothing to hide and can fully substantiate my claims. It's also the reason why we are being used in 1000's of classrooms by ten of thousands of kids, and have been designated as a "Promising Practice in Reading" by the Educational Commission of the States".

Time does not permit to tell you all that I would like. Please visit my web site at www.failurefree.com or call me at 1-800-542-2170 for a free demo disk. Try a sample of Failure Free Reading out for yourself with your very poorest reader. I think you will amazed at the results.

Finally a note of caution to Victoria: always remember Victoria, before you unfairly write something off as "a marketing trap", what Will Rogers said: "it's not bragging if you've done it!"

--
Joseph F. Lockavitch, Ed.D.
President
Failure Free Reading
(JFL Enterprises, Inc.)
140 W. Cabarrus Ave.
Concord, NC 28025
704-786-7838
www.failurefree.com

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 07, 2002 1:50:44 PM





Teaching Reading
Forum List | New Topic | View All Messages | Go to Topic | Flat View | Search Previous Message | Next Message
Failure Free Author Responds to A Coward's Slander
Author: Dr. Joe Lockavitch
Date: 02-07-02 11:57

I don't know who Victoria is - tutor, radical, crazy or some "phonetic predator" but as a dear friend said "take it from the source". Remember: anybody can do a "drive-by" shooting. As a professional courtesy, perhaps Victoria would share her/his surname, professional credentials and fiduciary affiliation.

As a former classroom teacher, university professor, school psychologist,special education director and parent of five, I have dedicated the past 30 years of my professional life studying the reading research and its application to the plight of the nonreader. More importantly, I tried to take off any dogmatic blinders I had and simply asked " what can we really do for those hardcore students who have not responded to years of traditional remedial instruction - phonics included?"

My research led me to a process that, when followed correctly,
was essentially "failure free" for nonreaders. Key to this was the importance of repetition. The research was clear. Nonreaders needed at least 75-100 exposures per word before they could recognize the word instantaneously. Is this overkill for most? Yes! But not for these students.

A review of programs available showed that traditional remedial approaches did not provide for such an extraordinary amount of repetition. That's why I created my materials. My research closely follows that of Dr. Chuck Hargis, formerly at the University of Tennessee, and the classic research by Gates in the early 30's. I did not create this research. I had no vested interest in it. I merely applied it .

My research also underscores Jean McCormick's review of the literature on the effectiveness of reading programs for nonreaders. Sadly, Dr. McCormick concluded that the prognosis for hard-core nonreaders was not hopeful, but of those programs that came closest to meeting their unique needs, those that stressed "multiple exposures in multiple contexts" had the greatest impact. That is why I stressed a methodology with a coordinated use of text, talking software and teaching.

Please note, that unlike Victoria, I am not stating that my program is suitable for all students in all situations. It works best for those who need help the most - particularly those with "a poor ear for sounds" and have been diagnosed with: auditory aphasia, agnosia or auditory dyslexia. The results achieved with these "phonetically deaf" students were remarkable. Even better, they were replicated in hundreds of sites across the nation. I have now compiled over 75 different studies involving more than 5000 students across grade levels and handicapping conditions.

I saw nonreaders read with fluency and full comprehension from our very first lessons. Better yet, I saw self respect and confidence immediately appear on their faces. Students who couldn't ( often after years of phonetic instruction) read the word "rain" suddenly read and fully understood the word "precipitation". That's why I
risked every dime I had to form a company to save these students. To have it described as "a marketing trap" is an insult.

I have the data, the background and the committment. I will not tolerate attacks from cowards who refuse to put their name and affiliation on their remarks. Such behavior is
nothing more than slander. I welcome debate. I have nothing to hide and can fully substantiate my claims. It's also the reason why we are being used in 1000's of classrooms by ten of thousands of kids, and have been designated as a "Promising Practice in Reading" by the Educational Commission of the States".

Time does not permit to tell you all that I would like. Please visit my web site at www.failurefree.com or call me at 1-800-542-2170 for a free demo disk. Try a sample of Failure Free Reading out for yourself with your very poorest reader. I think you will amazed at the results.

Finally a note of caution to Victoria: always remember Victoria, before you unfairly write something off as "a marketing trap", what Will Rogers said: "it's not bragging if you've done it!"

--
Joseph F. Lockavitch, Ed.D.
President
Failure Free Reading
(JFL Enterprises, Inc.)
140 W. Cabarrus Ave.
Concord, NC 28025
704-786-7838
www.failurefree.com


(1) My full name is right there on my email. I don't hide it. You can click on the email link. However I won't be answering any of YOUR slanderous/libellous accusations, as such do not deserve replies.
On this board, it is usual to listen to what people say, not who they are or what status they have. But because you ask, in case you are not able to use the email link, my full name is Victoria Haliburton, and I am presently located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I hope this is enough to satisfy you.

(2) For your information, slander is spoken, while libel is written. Therefore what you have done in your post above is to commit libel.

(3) Calling someone a coward in writing is libel.
And how does standing up to someone like you, who insults me publicly, make me a coward? I believe that in standing up for my ideas I am demonstrating the opposite of cowardice.

(4) Also libellous are: calling me a "phonetic predator"; likening my behaviour to a drive-by shooting; implying that I have no professional credentials (false); and implying that I have a fiduciary interest (false; although apparently YOU do)

Is this how you partake in academic discussions at your university?

(5) Research conducted by Gates in the 30's may fairly be classed as "outdated". This is exactly one of the points which I made in some of my previous posts.

(6) Because you ask: I have the following qualifications: BSc from MIT, BA double major in Honours Mathematics and Languages/Linguistics, MA Education, and three to four years further study in the fields of language/linguistics, education, and mathematics; permanent teaching certificates from two provinces; eight years' classroom teaching at various levels; five years' part-time college teaching and tutoring; eighteen years' private tutoring. Although this does not mean I know everything, it does mean that I am perfectly academically qualified to discuss matters of teaching and learning.
By the way, this is a bulletin board for teachers, parents, and tutors of LD children. Many of the people on this board are self-educated, parents who became experts in learning disabilities out of necessity because no one else was available or willing to teach their children. These parents, taking advice from the teachers and parents who have gone before, have often been successful in teaching their children, where the "experts" have failed. Some of the parents, having developed an expertise, go on to obtain degrees and teach professionally; others remain expert amateurs. If you had bothered to read the board for a while before flaming, you would have discovered that people here consider it poor taste to flaunt degrees -- they have seen too many "experts" with diplomas on their walls misdiagnose and miseducate their children. In this area, the proof is in the pudding.

(7) I have absolutely no financial interest in any program or school, **unlike you** (now what is that saying about not picking the speck from another's eye before removing the beam from your own eye?) I work entirely as a private tutor, and my income is dependent on my students and their parents seeing improvement in their skills and test scores.

(8) Going back to the actual facts at issue, I continually refer everyone here, not to my own personal opinions and writings, or to any profit-making company, but to the giant NIH/NICHD study, titled "Teaching Children to Read," available on this board through LD in Depth. This study is supported by thousands of qualified academics and educators, and reviews over fifty years of reading research. I hope you can accept this as academically sound enough to merit your respect. In it, the authors make very clear that (a) systematic, synthetic phonics should be part of every reading classroom, (b) phonics is NOT all of reading, but an extremely important foundation skill, (c) phonics instruction is strongly recommended for learning disabled children - in fact they often need more, not less. I am here summarizing hundreds of pages, so please excuse the over-simplification; for details, read the report.

(9) Flames such as yours are rare on this board; this is a serious discussion area for serious teachers and parents. Positive suggestions and guidance are the rule here. If you continue to spread insult and libel, you will be ignored. The weta directors rarely take action but they reserve the right to do so. Perhaps you should have read the general information about the site before flaming.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 07, 2002 10:19:11 PM

You all take yourselves so seriously! I think to a point when you are writing on a bulletin board, everyone tends to shoot from the hip because you want to be brief and poignant.

To the point, though, I am a rabid promoter of phonics, but children with auditory processing problems - well, mine at least - often need something else as well. My son can decode any word you put in front of him - he knows his phonics rules, but his reading and comprehension and fluency levels are still several grades below. This program might not be a magic cure, and it's good to fully evaluate - but it's really not fully possible on a bulletin board.

I'm not totally sold on info from the government - I'm not paranoid or a conspiracy type - but I have been unimpressed with the government school's responses to children with reading disabilities so far, I would be skeptical of their studies.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 08, 2002 12:38:15 AM

Speaking of trying to be brief on bulletin boards . . . The NIH study is just the tip of the iceberg. Much of the info has been out there for *fifty* years and more, and almost all of it for over twenty -- or you could have asked my grandmother and my friend's grandmother who successfully taught all sorts of children to read. People didn't want to listen to the grandmothers because they didn't have PhD's -- forget decades of real experience and proven success in the real world. Certain people in the ivory towers of education departments just gave each other references, and ignored the linguistic scientists and statisticians and actual authors who said that the stuff published as education research was unacceptable by any real academic standard. The NIH report is not a new study but a review of the research for the past fifty years and some for the past hundred. It took twenty years to compile and a lot of that time was spent reading and rejecting tens of thousands of education publications that do not meet even basic standards.

The NIH is not allied with the educational establishment, which is how they finally managed to publish something which contradicts much of what the educational establishment stands for.

On the other hand, if you want to read something by someone who is not at all allied with the government, go to Jean Chall's "Learning to Read - The Great Debate" published some time in the 1980's, or Rudlof Flesch's "Why Johnny Can't Read" published first in 1956.


On the issues of fluency and comprehension, a thought that's been brewing in my mind for a while: very many of the programs I see leave a great gap. They teach consonant sounds and some teach vowel sounds (I was very distressed yesterday to be in a class on adult-ed where it was recommended NOT to teach vowel sounds -- it's supposed to be "too hard" or "too much trouble"). Some teach blending as far as one-syllable words. Very, very few actually teach analysis of multi-syllable words. The student is supposed to figure this out on his own or fall back on guessing, I suppose. On recent poster said that PG is weak on multisyllables too. So the student knows individual letters, especially consonants, and has memorized a bank of "sight" words, but has little or no direction on what to do when a word is more than four or five letters long. This means the students will pass most phonics knowledge tests and will read acceptably but haltingly, pausing and then leaping at each long or uncommon word -- a familiar pattern!

Verbalizing syllable rules is complicated and tedious and as we all know doesn't transfer well to actual reading. I do teach some rules, but only as part of a larger program.

One thing I have found helpful for fluency and comprehension - a time-tested method that goes back to those grandmothers - is shared reading. I read along with the student, letting him read all the parts he does OK on, while I chime in with a phonetic hint -- first sound, first syllable, start of second syllable, and so on -- on the words where he stalls for more than a second or two. This keeps the basic flow of the reading moving and de-stresses the situation to allow the student to concentrate on comprehension. Modelling syllable analysis allows the student to learn it gradually and in a meaningful context. This is not an overnight cure, but it is a time-tested method with a good track record.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 09, 2002 7:02:07 PM

I have read "Why Johnny Can't Read," years ago - it was a real eye-opener. I've also read a good bit of the NIH study - and maybe I'm too suspicious of government studies.

Currently, I have my son reading along with a tape, with some pre-reading activities. His problem is, he can sound out the word, but haltingly, so it slows him down, even small words, but there's hardly a word he can't get. He also has phonemic awareness problems. I'd like to use LMB, but can't find a tutor - probably couldn't afford one if I did find one! Now, I'm working on lining up a tutor for Orton-Gillingham and am considering going to Orlando for a week-long PG session.

Thanks for your input - unfortunately, there are no easy answers.

Laura

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 09, 2002 9:55:29 PM

I didn't catch the age or grade level of your son.

If he's in a level where he is *supposed* to be a beginner, Kindergarten to Grade 2, LET him be a beginner! Why do people try to force kids to be little adults all at once, and then spend years trying to remediate, and also grousing that kids don't want to be kids? If a kid below Grade 3 reads slowly and has to work on a lot of words, OK, so what, he's learning!

I give a beginner lots of easy material with developmental vocabulary: my favourite Ladybird Key Words series (recently reprinted by Penguin in the UK; no phonics but great vocabulary, so just add phonics); also other basals including Dick and Jane (again weak phonics but great vocabulary control). In LKW, Books 1a and 1b have a grand total of 17 words of vocabulary over 50 pages of reading, 2a and 2b add 25 new words for 42-word vocabulary repeated over 50 pages of reading, and so on. The kid starts out halting and sounding out every word, but the base vocabulary appears and reappears and reappears, each time in a slightly different sentence, with sentences quickly getting longer and more complex (*exactly* what is recommended for developing fluency, intensive repetition in many different contexts). I have the child read these out loud to me and I sit and bite my tongue and let them read until they really stall, merely pointing to errors to re-try and suggesting the next sound. Slowly the analysis and recognition of the common vocabulary becomes automatized, and speed and fluency come along of themselves.

On the other hand, for kids above Grade 3, it's sometimes necessary to jump-start a bit; we do the same development but a lot faster, starting at the first barely readable level rather than the absolute beginning, and I do a lot of duet with them, having them pronounce the words with me as I slide the pointer left-to-right. But the idea is the same, learn to read and get better at reading by reading. And develop vocabulary one word at a time, using more-or-less frequency based books so that every new word learned is useful in every other book met.

For adolescents, same idea, but if they can read somewhat, I use children's/youth literature - Harry Potter is good. It has all the common vocabulary needed and nice phonics practice on the less common and the names; and nobody needs to be ashamed to be reading it.

Honest, this works. Time, work, and a lot of biting your tongue (parents and teachers like to talk too much). But it is worth the troubloe.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Feb 09, 2002 11:22:30 PM

He.s 13, grade 7 - so we're getting up against the wire. He can read som, about 4.5 grade level. He also has auditory processing problems. Combined with his dislexia, inattentive ADD, and reading difficulties, it makes subjects like history very difficult. I still haven't figured out a good system for him to take information in and digest it, and spit it back out.

We're still plugging away, though, and I probably do talk too much.

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