ing your child to the topLet's face it: not every child is a happy, self - motivated, eager learner. If you've already tried every motivational technique under the sun to no avail and the approach of a new school year fills you with parental guilt and dread, Empowering Underachievers: How to Guide Failing Kids (8 - 18) to Personal Excellence is a must read. By "underachiever," authors Peter A. Spevak, Ph.D., and Maryann Karinch mean a student who has a problem with attitude not ability. Four types of underachievers - Distant, Passive, Dependent and Defiant - are defined, and methods for understanding, coping with and motivating each type are discussed in separate chapters. Spevak and Karinch encourage parents to be aware of their own attitudes about life and learning. They advocate setting a living example of the motto "life is what you make it."Linda Stankard has been a public school teacher and a homeschooling parent. She currently teaches at a community college in Tennessee.