Failing Students or Failing Schools? A Parent's Guide to Reading Instruction and Intervention

Is reading a struggle for your child?

Does it cause your child stress or embarrassment?

Are you confused by mixed messages received from teachers and other professionals?

Then this book is for you! Available in soft cover, hard cover, eBook, and audio book formats.

124 pages

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Cover of Failing Students or Failing Schools by Faith Borkowsky showing a frustrated student with his head down next to a large stack of books.

“This book has become one of my most valued resources!”

—Dr. Agata Kaminska, Educator

“If there was a bible for reading, this would be it.”

—Wishing Shelf Book Review

Book description:

Literacy expert Faith Borkowsky reveals behind-the-scenes information, an inside look at educational policies and procedures, and practical advice for overwhelmed parents of struggling readers in her groundbreaking new book.

Why? Literacy rates in America are the lowest they have been in decades. And 60% of fourth-graders cannot read at grade level. For years, educators have tried to create the perfect one-size-fits-all approach to literacy education. But what happens to the children who do not fit this mold? Why are American schools unsuccessful at teaching children to read? What if your child is one who is struggling to learn to read? What if your child is involved in reading intervention programs that simply do not seem to help? What can you do?

Teacher and literacy expert Faith Borkowsky answers these questions and more in her book Failing Students or Failing Schools? A Parent’s Guide to Reading Instruction and Intervention. Borkowsky has worked with struggling readers for over thirty years, and with teachers and administrators, both inside and outside the educational system. She is in a unique position to offer solutions to overwhelmed and baffled parents who trusted the schools to help their children but without success. Borkowsky’s book explores the reasons why so many children have difficulty learning to read using the current methods in vogue in American schools and describes how those difficulties often result in behavioral problems, low self-esteem, or apparent difficulties in other subjects, such as math and science. Borkowsky also explains the best way of teaching reading, why schools don’t change their methods, and what parents need to know if their child is receiving reading intervention, as well as what they can do in the home to help supplement and support their child’s reading education or intervention program.

This book includes special sections on:

  • The best, proven way to teach children to read
  • Factors that can influence reading comprehension difficulties
  • Questions you need to ask if your child is receiving reading intervention
  • What you can do at home to supplement your child’s intervention
  • How to help your child with homework

If you are a parent who feels the schools have failed your child when it comes to teaching him or her to read, an educator seeking greater insight into the best literacy practices for all children, or a parent of a preschooler hoping your child gets off to a good start, then this book is for you.

“Faith Borkowsky has an extraordinary grasp of the actual complexities and details of infrastructures, budgets, schedules, biases, [the] paucity of adequate and accurate professional development, etc. in our schools and how these impact reading instruction for Pre K–12.”

—Sally Grimes, Educator

Editorial Review:

"As well as being a literacy coordinator, I am also mother of three: a boy of 7 and twin girls of 9, so I was very keen to delve into this book. To start with, let me say how impressed I was, not only by the contents but also the accessibility of the writing. Divided into short, well-constructed chapters, this could be read from beginning to end or, simply, act as a reference book for a concerned parent who wants to know, for example, whether handwriting is still important.

"Now, on to the nitty-gritty. As many know—but, sadly, many don’t—reading is vital if a child is to progress successfully in school. And, not just in school, but in pretty much every aspect in life, from understanding the small print in a contract to enjoying the wonders of Dickens, a rather ‘wordy’ author. But, as the author of this books shows, a huge number of people in the US cannot read or read very badly. And, that, in a way, is why a book of this nature is so important. Very much promoting a Structured Literacy approach—or phonics—as opposed to a Whole Language philosophy—using context and memorization of high frequency words—this book attempts to help parents to navigate the pitfalls of working with schools to improve a child’s reading ability and, and as a result, enjoyment of a text.

"In a sensible and succinct way, the author looks at, not only why many children and adults cannot read, but also, in a positive manner, how to help a child to develop into a good reader. Hiring a private tutor, improving memory, even resistant teachers; they are all discussed in this superbly written textbook.

"I was particularly impressed by the author’s understanding of how important self-esteem is to a child’s ability to learn to read. And how, when a child falls behind, they find it embarrassing to even open a book. This hurdle, often ignored, is often the most difficult for a child—and the concerned parent—to jump. This book will help them.

"So, who is this book for? Well, I’d say any parent with children who find reading difficult will find this interesting and helpful. Also, any parent who feels a school is not ‘listening’ to them will be much better armed if they absorb a few of the gems hidden within this text. But let’s not forget the schools. They often work very hard to help a child who is having problems with reading. With a book like this in the staffroom, they might do a much better job."

—A Wishing Shelf Book Review