Charlotte Lockhart, nicknamed the Biphonic Woman, was an exemplary educator and role model with a passion for teaching the world to read. She dedicated her time and money to creating the Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself reading system and spent many years tutoring individual students, training teachers, and educating parents on her method.
The Orton-Gillingham based method Lockhart created is now the foundation of the entire Reading Horizons system. To honor her legacy, Reading Horizons has established the Charlotte F. Lockhart Award for Excellence in Literacy Education (“Lockhart Award,”) to be granted to institutions or individuals who exemplify the characteristics and core values Lockhart embodied and embraced.
February 2017 - Neshaminy School District
"It was with great pleasure that I took two days off of my office routine to travel to Philadelphia and to present the Charlotte F. Lockhart award to Neshaminy School District. My visits with the teachers and administrators were uplifting, engaging, and informative. The classroom observations that we did showed the passion with which the teachers approach literacy instruction and the desire the children have to learn. Listening to the kids explain the structure of the language in succinct yet accurate ways was inspiring.
I was grateful to have the opportunity to participate in recognizing a hard working staff of reading specialists and their administrators with an award that highlights their focus on the most important of all educational endeavors – literacy. Reading Horizons tends to attract the best, brightest, and most passionate of educators. Individuals who teach for the right reasons and who yearn to see the fruit of their instruction in the lives of their students. Those that I met in Neshaminy fit that description perfectly."
- Tyson Smith
When considering potential recipients for the Lockhart Award, Reading Horizons focuses on these traits:
Always Serving. Whether as a student, in the military, as an administrator, as a mother, or as a tutor, Lockhart believed in the value of serving others, regardless of life circumstance. Countless hours were dedicated to one-on-one sessions with children who needed extra help, and she gave that time gladly.
Overcoming Obstacles. Lockhart was initially prohibited from teaching because she was a married woman. She did it anyway, taking on 23 students over 7 grades in a rural Illinois school. Later she joined the military to serve in WWII among the first female Navy recruits. When her school needed coaches, she took up the job and headed both basketball and baseball as a busy principal. Charlotte always got things done, even when the challenge was great.
Literary Focus. During her teaching career, Lockhart was increasingly worried about the tragedy of illiteracy. She saw how much reading struggles could disrupt the life of a student and even while serving as a principal worked as a private tutor to students who needed help learning to read. Her life mission became increasingly focused on literacy. By the end of her life’s journey she had worked with thousands of students.
Dedication and Passion. Decades after her 1972 retirement, Lockhart continued to tutor, teach, and train with the same level of passion as her first day in the classroom. When she was disappointed with the reading materials offered to her students, she created her own curriculum. Her personality was large and her lasting impact even larger.
Commitment to Education. Beyond the world of workbooks and games, Lockhart developed a method that taught vital decoding skills. Literacy organizations worldwide were beneficiaries of some of her countless volunteer hours, ensuring teachers became better teachers. She did more than instruct. She educated.
Loving Heart. Above all else, Lockhart exuded love. Her students remember her as a smiling teacher. Her staff remember her as an inspiring leader.
Reading Horizons is grateful to be able to carry on her legacy and hopes this award will recognize those who strive to improve literacy in their corner of the world.
Would you like to nominate a teacher, school, or district for the Lockhart Award? Apply here.