cover image The Elementry School Handbook

The Elementry School Handbook

Joanne F. Oppenheim. Pantheon Books, $11.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-679-72552-7

This encyclopedic reference, part of a series from the Bank Street College of Education in New York City, offers cool-headed assistance to parents seeking to understand elementary education and tailor local resources to their children's needs. On the one hand, Oppenheim ( Buy Me! Buy Me!: The Bank Street Guide to Choosing Toys for Children ), an elementary grade teacher and a mother, acknowledges parents' anxieties by providing useful methods for spotting the danger signals of a child's reading problems and for assessing a school reading program; on the other hand, she repeatedly cautions parents not to put pressure on children simply to gratify their own egos and to let children develop skills at their own pace. Advice that is obvious (``Visit the classroom during Open School Week'') is followed by specifics (e.g., questions that parents should ask). A realist who recognizes that schools reflect society, Oppenheim also gives pointers for dealing with drugs and racism. (Sept.)