A self-styled "blueprint for success," by a former education writer for the New York Times, author of several education-related books, including Don't Blame the Kids, 1981. Maeroff warns parents to step into their children's education early: "students who do poorly in elementary school enter secondary school at risk, and there is a good chance that they will take that disadvantage with them when they reach college--if they get that far." In fact, he quotes "some experts" who say, "By the age of six, a child's whole future is determined." Overlooking this hard-sell premise, the information assembled here is useful if not ground-breaking. Maeroff gives parents concrete ways to enhance their children's education ("read, read, read"), listing appropriate books for each age group, addresses for follow-up resources and organizations, and, especially, lists of specific skills and knowledge a child is expected to master by grade and by subject. In addition, he offers commonsensical advice on how to deal with teachers and staff, organize homework and after-school activities, cope with TV, and prepare a child for school. He is weakest in discussing the preschool years, where quality is hard lo define and harder to find. If not a blueprint, at least a user manual for an elementary education.