Book Review

How to Support Struggling Students

by Robyn R. Jackson and Claire Lambert, ASCD, Alexandria, Va., and Mindsteps, Washington, D.C., 2010, 122 pp., $21.95 softcover


Individualized instruction and remediation are two topics in the forefront of many discussions in K-12 education and current research. Educators at all grade levels feel increased pressure to address individual-student skill deficiencies.



How to Support Struggling Students is part of the Mastering the Principles of Great Teaching series by Robyn Jackson, founder of Mindsteps. This book’s co-author, Claire Lambert, is a former middle school teacher. Together, they apply their knowledge of classroom practice and the latest research on addressing individual student needs to describe a method of designing instructional units and selecting specific activities to support learning.

The book opens with a self-assessment so readers understand their own teaching methods and their place on the continuum of a master teacher. The authors hope educators will create lessons that deliver information to students while providing support for those who require intervention or remediation.

Jackson and Lambert discuss the mastery principle “to catch students the moment that they begin to struggle” and how to construct units of study in the classroom that support student learning. The worksheets in the book guide teachers through the process of planning their instructional practices.

This is not a typical leadership book. It’s a guide that can be used by administrators as a tool for teacher professional development. A superintendent who wants to address remediation, Response to Intervention and differentiation should pass this book on to those responsible for professional development in the district.

Reviewed by Edythe B. Austermuhl, superintendent, Deerfield Township School, Rosenhayn, N.J.