EDI Book

EDIBookCroppedExplicit Direct Instruction:
The Power of the Well-Crafted, Well-Taught Lesson

by John Hollingsworth and Silvia Ybarra  (2009, Corwin Press)

A few years ago, when observing a class, co-author John Hollingsworth watched a 40-minute lesson where the teacher skillfully pulled together technique after technique. All her students were engaged and learning.  To close the lesson, she asked the students to work a problem on their whiteboards and show her. She smiled because they all had it correct. But then the students turned to the author and the principal who were sitting in the back, held up their boards, and said, “I can do it!”

The author was speechless for a moment, and then realized what he had just seen. He turned to the principal and said, “We have just witnessed something very important today. All over the country, educators are working hard to increase student learning and student achievement, and we have just seen the solution to the educational problem. It’s the well-designed, well-taught lesson.”


John Hollingsworth (left) and Silvia Ybarra present their new book to the California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell (center).

This is a book about how to regularly and systematically achieve the result described above.  This book will show you how to design and deliver “well-crafted, well-taught lessons.” It presents to you what the authors discovered about education:   that all the activities done in the name of school reform are missing one thing – a relentless focus on improving how students are taught in the classroom, the first time!

Do you raise test scores by testing students or by teaching them?  The key to higher student achievement is not to focus on testing but on teaching.   The authors thus embarked on one of the largest research projects ever conducted:  Analyzing 2.3 million student assignments, observing 45,000 teachers, surveying 100,000 educational stakeholders, and developing proven strategies in hundreds of classrooms.

  • They developed a process called Instructional Calibration. They sit in the back of classrooms to quantify classroom implementation (and sometimes lack of implementation) of 119 specific classroom practices, such as lesson design components, lesson delivery strategies, cognitive strategies, English Learner strategies, time-on-task, and use of higher-order questions.

This research led to the development of the teaching procedures described in this book. Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) is a collection of research-based strategies that help students learn more and learn faster. These are not new techniques, but the best of 100 years of educational research made practical and easy to use.   Throughout this book, the authors define what essential instructional skills are, show what they look like in the classroom, and describe why they are important to use.

Written in an entertaining, easy-to-read style, this resource provides elementary and secondary teachers with concrete strategies, detailed sample lessons, and scenarios that illustrate what EDI techniques look like in the classroom. Components of EDI, which are based on brain research for effective learning, include:

  • Checking for understanding
  • Setting lesson objectives
  • Activating prior knowledge
  • Developing students’ skills by explaining, modeling, and demonstrating
  • Presenting content
  • Using guided practice

This unique methodology, Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI), is an approach based on the premise that all children can learn. Ideal for all content areas and grade levels, Explicit Direct Instruction helps teachers deliver well-crafted, well-taught lessons to improve instruction and achievement for every student.

“EDI changed how we teach! Designing and delivering EDI lessons and strategies helped teachers meet the need of all learners. We are now a Distinguished School and Title 1 award winner. Our students know they can succeed!”  — Susan Fitzgerald, Principal, Del Rey Elementary School, CA

“Most of the schools in our county are adopting Direct Instruction as a sound instructional strategy. We have found good results from the teachers who are implementing it properly. We have seen other people from other schools using it and talking about the strategy; however, I did not totally understand the nuts and bolts until I read this book.  If you are trying to perfect your craft, or you are a coach helping to get your school on board, this is the book for you.”  – Amazon customer