Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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- Q: What are the computer requirements I need in order to use Failure Free Reading's software applications?
That is answered here in our System Requirements file in Adobe PDF Document Format. In fact, many end-user problems are solved by updating your computer to the current software requirements listed in this sheet. Please check this document and make sure you meet the specifications before calling technical support so that we may assist you.
UPDATE! For Windows Users who wish to use our online software: Windows XP, 7, 8, or Vista are recommended. If you use Explorer, it should be version 7 or newer. Mac Users are best served with OS X 10.4 or newer, which include Safari versions 4 and above.
For all systems: Mozilla Firefox is supported and should be version 6 or newer. Recent versions of Google Chrome are also supported.
Adobe Flash needs to be installed and should be version 8 or newer.
- Q: What addresses do my tech department need to 'whitelist' in the firewalls and content blockers?
Most problems in connecting or saving data with Failure Free Online can be alleviated in advance by whitelisting (the opposite of blacklisting) these addresses through your local firewalls, content blockers (which freeze program access when specific words are detected) and any other security applications so that teachers and students can access our online software applications successfully:
Our technical/setup emailings will be coming to you from (any_email_address) and specifically from for our main correspondences with you or your organization. Please make sure that your email program or security applications do not block these addresses so you can receive passwords or software setup information.
Feel free to copy and paste this list and these instructions from this page into an email to your tech department.
Notes: In institutions with high security rules, computer programs like Norton Internet Security (just one example) on local machines can block online software services as well, or otherwise impede them from performing properly. Communication must be allowed two-way through your firewalls with our servers to be able to save and load students' scores.
Please understand that security and firewall issues are neither caused by us nor anything we can solve on our end, but security policies set by your own schools to limit access to the internet, so this must be completed by your institution's tech services.
- Q: New versions of Internet Explorer are not running my reports now, what do I do? ( UPDATE: Resolved )
- A: If you do not have a different browser to run reports in (like Safari, Chrome or Firefox) you can simply press a button on internet explorer 9 and newer to make them work easily. [ Click Here ] to see a visual of the button and how to tell if you are in the right compatibility mode to run our reports in Internet Explorer 9 and newer. (This should no longer be a problem as the reporting application has been reprogrammed.)
- Q: 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.
- Q: 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.
- Q: 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.
- Q: How long do students use the programs?
It all depends on each student's circumstances.
Most students will complete their intervention in one school year. Others are done after a semester, while some students with specific disabilities may continue to use the program for more than one year because of their greater need for structure and repetition.
- Q: Why doesn't Failure Free Reading incorporate phonics?
There are several reasons. First, Failure Free Reading is an intensive language-based intervention designed for students who are severely delayed in reading due to a learning disability, audio-phonological disability, or language-related deficit. It was not designed or intended to be used to remediate skills for struggling readers. Instead, Failure Free can complement alphabetic instruction by providing students with the language skills and confidence necessary for further instruction.
A related point is that many children regardless of age don't learn to read through phonics. Torgesen (2000) estimates that from 2% to 6% of beginning readers do not respond to early interventions that emphasizes phonological awareness and phonological decoding.
For adolescent severely delayed in reading, especially those who have resisted remedial instruction, Failure Free Reading's methodology is appropriate and entirely consistent with the findings and recommendations of the National Reading Panel, Reading Next, Striving Readers, and current research.
- Q: Isn't Failure Free Reading just the Look-Say method all over again?
No! Failure Free is actually a highly-theraputic approach to language development.
It was initially designed for special needs students, and has been proven in independent research studies to produce significant gains for at-risk students, ELLs, and other students stuck at the emergent reading stage.
- Q: 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.
- Q: 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.
- Q: Is Failure Free Reading a 'whole language' intervention?
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.
- Q: 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.
- Q: 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.