The Motivation Breakthrough (2008) Review


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The Motivation Breakthrough (2008) Review

Motivation Breakthrough Review: Introduction

Richard Lavoie is an experienced administrator and teacher. He has worked as an administrator at local programs for children with learning disabilities since 1972. He is a dedicated teacher, author, and conference speaker whose aim is to make teachers and parents empathize with children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and many more. He held highly successful workshops for teachers and parents called “How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T. City Workshop” and “Last One Picked, First One Picked On: The Social Implications of Learning Disabilities. His teaching methods are respected and accepted and helped many people in the educational field or parents. In 2007 he published his book, "The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child". The title fits its' cover because it caused a revolutionary breakthrough in educating a child with learning disabilities ever since Laovie has continued to work hard and appeared on many shows to inform people.

Body Paragraphs

In today’s world, there has been an increasing demand and trend into the motivation. That is, people are increasing looking for advices regarding different aspects of life such as early childhood, adolescence, and even elderly with the gerontologic publications. In this sense, “The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Turned-Out Child” can be considered as a widely respected and credible source for those who are looking for recommendations regarding the questions marks the parents may have. After all, “as any experienced coach and teacher will attest, establishing a positive and constructive relationship with a student is a critically important ingredient in motivation,” as Lavoie suggests (p. 229).

The Motivation Breakthrough is a groundbreaking book that has valuable information and advice on every sentence. When you finish it, it leaves you with a sense that these theories should have been known all along because it is so obvious, yet no one has put it this clearly until he did. Lavoie mainly focuses on children with learning disabilities; however, the book also offers valuable insights into human relationships. It includes meaningful observations on empathy, sympathy, reasoning, and conflict that can be applied to any social relationship. When handling a 'lazy' child, teachers and parents always had these types of approach; they must motivate them, give them positive feedback and encouragement, and make the child feel understood. Also, as Lavoie stated, “most teachers and parents recognize that motivation is the key to learning. Reflect for a moment on your favorite teacher in high school” (2007, p. 5). In this sense, one can readily remember high school memories and agree and appreciate the fact that we probably all have a favorite teacher that motivated us a lot back in these days.

However, even though these seem like simple disciplines, there have always been complications and difficulties implementing them. The Motivation Breakthrough analyzes the reasons for this, suggests methods to resolve them, and unravels the common misconceptions regarding motivation. The book's main focus is special education and elementary level students, which I think is a good decision because even though there are a great number of books on educating children of this age and type, The Motivation Breakthrough brings an exceptionally refreshing yet familiar point of view. It considers parents and teachers and offers practical solutions that anyone can carry out. Sometimes, child-centric books tend to give bits of advice that parents struggle to implement in the fast-paced life that they have.

While being a teacher and a father of three, Laovie acknowledges the struggles parents might face all too well, which makes his book so applicable. The most moving part about the book is that it beings by categorizing students and what motivates them. He demystifies the questions surrounding motivation. Each child is unique and should be treated as so. They learn differently, they do not care about the same things at the same amount, have different priorities, and that is why motivating every child in the traditional reward method has a high chance of being futile. The Motivation Breakthrough tackles this issue by claiming that every child has should be motivated in different ways and gathers them under six categories which are; praise, prices, prestige, project, people, and power. Lavoie breaks these six concepts in the entirety of his book, cohesively. The most striking one for me was the compelling theory he wrote about the feeling of success.

Teachers and parents always believe that their children/students would excel in anything if they just put their mind to it. Lavoie contrasts this belief by stating that they would try harder when they reach success. He continues this claim by adding that children with learning disabilities are usually reluctant to study not because they are lazy, sloppy, or whimsical; because they have got underwhelming results out of their hard work before. It is anticipated from parents and teachers will most likely try to encourage these children by saying things like their hard work will pay off if only they try a bit better, concentrate harder without never truly understanding the struggles they face on a day to day basis. Lavoie recommends that instead of doing these, parents and teachers should acknowledge children's efforts and make them feel successful. He claims rightfully that success is the greatest motivator, and children will build up enthusiasm and eventually be more present in the class and at home. Another extremely noteworthy remark on The Motivation Breakthrough is to give children authority and choices.

Lavoie says that the process of growing up harbors an inane feeling of conflict. It is a journey through reaching independence, critical thinking, and most parents can view this period as an emotional separation. Lavoie alleviates their worries by stating that conflict is necessary for growth. All children must disagree with their parents, teacher, or their main authority figures on certain things to create a mind of their own. Giving them choices is very crucial because it is what improves their independence. For example, a straightforward choice can even be asking your child where which subject they want to study first or which homework they would like to begin. By making them choose simple things like whether they want to attend a birthday party, which instrument they would like to play or branch of sports, they want to participate. This would let them discover their passions and ensure that they are going to be more interested while it is something of their own. In his book, Lavoie writes that at children of an early age, even allowing them to use the bathroom on their own makes a great difference in self-determination.

These are all very suitable suggestions because they are relatively easy to commit. The Motivation Breakthrough also proposes some distinct opinions on punishments and rewards. While Lavoie says that typical rewards such as stickers to create a false sense of accomplishment generally do not work, he encourages well-though rewards that are unique to the children at some parts of the book. The reason why he does not support the reward system is pretty understandable; he explains two concepts called intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (Lavoie). The distinction between these is that intrinsic motivation comes from within. The children or teenager wants to learn something just for the sake of learning while their incentive is that. While rewards can be useful for teaching children house or school rules, it defeats its' own purpose when applied for learning purposes.

The most complex part of the reward system is that it can look like it is working. The student can get higher results bt Laovie states clearly that it is just extrinsic motivation, thus not permanent. They are not motivated to learn; they are driven by the reward. Another possibly harmful impact of the system is that the system can create a dependency on rewards if the child directly associates success with rewards. There is a high chance that they will feel like a failure when they are not rewarded for something they usually are. However, for punishment and power, his opinions are rather firm. According to Lavoie, power trips do not have a great effect on children because the concept of power itself is something they desperately avoid. They do not even want their power, let alone teachers or parents'.

Another notion that this book covers projects. Lavoie declares that nothing motivates a student is a simple reflection of the teacher's shaky grip on human nature. Every person in the world has something that motivates them, and teachers who say this are failed to find their students. When a student does not attend a class, he or she is motivated not to be present; every teacher must take on the duty to find out why. Lavoie states it can be the fear of failure, being embarrassed in front of their friends, or aggravate their teacher. In order to find their intrinsic motivation, teachers should be tolerant and accepting, especially when fostering a child with learning disabilities, trying different projects, and monitoring the student's level of engagement. For example, group projects are generally more attainable because it involves brainstorming with peers.

I found the theories and suggestions on Richard Laovie's book The Motivation Breakthrough refreshing, groundbreaking, and, most importantly, hopeful. As an adult with ADHD who was considered as a lazy and pensive child, I wish Mr. Laovie's book was published during my childhood years. His insights on motivation genuinely capture the mind of every child with learning disabilities. The Motivation Breakthrough gives well-earned criticism to teachers and parents, yet his suggestions are never inconsiderate to the reality that they live in. It is a book that is written with empathy and an understanding of all parties. He inspires every teacher by narrating his own experiences that show how much of a difference one teacher can make on a child.

Motivation Breakthrough Review: Conclusion

Accommodating the school's conditions and learning things can feel like a constant battle if you have a learning disability. Your mind seldom processes the information that your classmates quickly learn. The biggest mistake a teacher or parent can make is to make the child feel like it is their fault when there is no fault in actuality. Lavoie teaches that learning disabilities do not have to be a hindrance when the right methods are applied; it can just be a difference. On this journey, each praise, encouragement, piece of compassion, and camaraderie that is offered to a child has a significant impact on their future life. After all, the assignment has presented insights and interpretations about the book. Accordingly, the book can be really credible and useful source for those who like reading and look for advices regarding the Motivation Breakthrough, literally. Also, today’s world necessitates a constant level of motivation regarding many aspects of life and the book can be a feasible source for many.


Lavoie, Richard. The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning on the Tuned-out Child. Touchstone Press, 2008.

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