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.

May 2018 – Johnson Junior High School Academy of International Studies

Reading Horizons was proud to award Johnson Junior High School Academy of International Studies the Charlotte F. Lockhart Award for Excellence in Literacy Education. According to their staff, “Johnson Junior High is committed to engage, motivate, and challenge our students as global learners and global citizens. This, of course, starts with literacy.”

This International Baccalaureate school in Clark County School District has students speaking twenty-six different native languages. In 2017, Johnson Junior High welcomed students from Bulgaria, Russia, China, Egypt, Guatemala and several other countries. The educators at Johnson Junior High School are dedicated to the mission of building and honing literacy skills for every student who walks through their doors.  

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.

Literacy 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 remembers 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.