Moving Beyond the Textbook

EDUC 316 - 9/18/12


  • What is the importance of "exploratory" teachers moving beyond the traditional textbooks?
  • What impact does total reliance on textbooks have on today's students?
  • In your opinion, do textbooks still have a place in classrooms?

How often are textbooks used as the sole means of instruction?

Unfortunately, some studies indicate that as much as 95 percent of classroom instruction and 90 percent of homework assignments for elementary students are based on textbook materials (Sosniak & Perlman, 1990).

Why Textbooks Cannot Stand Alone (pg. 167)

  • Relying on textbooks as the sole material for your instruction contributes to your students' view that education is disjointed, abbreviated, and often unorganized.
  • Textbooks do provide students with condensed information about topics. However, the information is just an overview.
  • Students typically have a difficult time "connecting" to the material.
  • Common Core vs. Textbooks? Link to Article
  • Textbooks are often written in vague / hard to understand language.
  • Most of the time, textbooks do not who the connection to other subject areas.

Other Resources to Strengthen Textbook Instruction

  • technology
  • other texts
  • primary sources
  • classroom discussion
  • readers theater
  • small group
  • hands-on activities

The basic premise is...levels of understanding are increased when students see material repeatedly in different forms...

Readability of Texts

  • the match between the reader and the text
  • content is clear, well expressed, and suited to the reader
  • not a formula - exploration of what characteristics within the text and the reader(s) will be successful
  • use professional judgment


Richardson, J. S., Morgan, R. F., & Fleener, C. E. (2008). Reading to learn in the content areas . Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.