The Essential 55:

An Award-winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child

by Ron Clark

Hyperion, ISBN: 1-4013-0001-4, HB, 196 pages,

Sometimes poignant, often funny, always insightful, Ron Clark's The Essential 55 is a book I wish I had read before student teaching. Clark's rules may boil down to the Golden Rule, but he spells them out in a practical way and illustrates them with anecdotes that spice the account and keep you reading.

He explains each rule with personal background, reason, and a history of successes and the failures that led to the rule. Many of these rules are ones that parents should be teaching their children, such as table manners, saying thank you, washing their hands after using the rest room, but others give young people definite ways to build character, such as surprising others with acts of kindness.

Clark comes across as a dynamic and dedicated teacher. This book will help teachers improve their performance and help parents develop character in their kids. It should be required reading for all prospective teachers. We are including this on our Christmas list for my dad who is a school board member, and my sons who are future parents. As a former homeschooler, I recommend this to other homeschoolers.