Book Review: Straight A’s Are Not Enough
From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students. There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years. We’ve created lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. See our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.
This month we’re considering a book that is intended for your student, but we recommend it for parents to review first and then to pass on. Parents should read Straight A’s Are Not Enough first because as parents, we, too, need to be reminded that getting an education is about more than grades. We can’t expect our students to focus on education rather than grades if we don’t value the broader education as well.
But be sure to pass this book on to your student. The book is intended to help students study better, and smarter, to be able to move beyond simply grades to a true education. One of the strengths of this book is that, as the author discusses true learning, she fills the book with strategies that are bound to raise any student’s grades in the process. Chapter after chapter is filled with exercises, review questions, techniques and strategies for better studying – what the author terms the ‘intentional approach’. The book has over 100 strategies for students to employ that cover everything from approaches to learning to notetaking to rediscovering the excitement of reading and mental processing.
We especially like the author’s suggestion that progress requires “giant steps” and that giant steps can be hard. Her final chapter addresses “Big Answers for Big Questions” and helps students (and their parents) to look at not only study techniques, but also the broader purpose of education.
She leaves students with six strong study habits and the admonition that “There is always hope.” In the author’s words, “You can rediscover the excitement of genuine learning and take charge of your own education. You can expand your interests to include subjects long considered important for a well-rounded education, sometimes even finding these subjects so interesting that you go on to learn more than what’s assigned. You can learn to think deeply and access many of the pathways to lasting memory. When you do these things, you will then get that great education – the kind that can change your life.”
Isn’t that what we all want for our children?
About the Author:
Judy Fishel was a 7th grader when she first asked why she worked so hard, made goo grades, but learned so little. She struggled with this question through HS, college, grad school, and for years as an award-winning teacher.
What the author has to say about the book:
“College students who were among the best in their high school classes are often baffled to discover that, after reading a chapter or listening to a lecture, they remember so little. They spend long hours cramming for tests, but even students who do make straight A’s soon forget nearly everything they ‘learned.’ Sometimes they wonder if this isn’t a terrible waste of their time and money. Certainly this cannot be what is meant by getting a good education. They may sometimes say to themselves, there really must be a better way to learn.
That is why I had to write this book.
This book takes a radically different approach, starting with the concept that Learning is more important than grades. Based on current research, this book explains some of the reasons why hard-working students often learn so little. It goes on to describe key learning break-throughs as well as practical strategies for enabling students to get the great education they want and need.
I had to write this book because, as long as you and thousands of students like you don’t understand these ideas, you will continue working hard, sometimes making excellent grades but still learning little.
And you need to read this book so you can get the education you want and need.”
What others have to say about the book:
“While this survey of best practices in learning is targeted to college students, its recommendations are useful for learners of all ages.”
Hobbs Professor of Cognition & Education,
Harvard Graduate School of Education
“In Straight A’s Are Not Enough Judy Fishel covers everything a young person needs to know in order to gain a first-class education. Her emphasis on authentic learning is a breath of fresh air, and will inspire young people to form lifelong learning habit. This is a great book for the student in your life, whether they need to polish their study skills or are ready to tackle more advanced strategies for learning.”
Daniel H. Pink
Author of DRIVE and A WHOLE NEW MIND
“I must say, as a higher education professional, I found this book to be very refreshing. The book challenges the reader to go beyond the culturally acceptable forms of educational attainment through extrinsic recognition i.e. grades, and instead to strive to learn for the sake of learning.”
Mirtha Novalien Bailey
Assistant Program Development and Recruitment
Nova Southeastern University, Orlando, FL
“This book dazzled me with its depth and practicality. After reading it, I realized how horribly inefficient my approach to learning was. It includes a smorgasbord of approaches from which students can select the strategies that best suit their learning styles. It offers ideas for everyone.”
Gayle H. Swift
Co-founder GIFT Family Services;
ABC, Adoption & Me
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