Useful Textbook or Too Bloated and Non-Useful

A growing trend in textbooks is to add more visuals and  add cute stories. However, with all these additions, I think it is harder to find the real critical information in the text.  Some textbook go into such minute detail that the students have to be miners in a maze of dark caves. Students can read the textbook and miss the critical points.  One textbook takes over 60 pages to describe the pre-writing, composing and revising phrases of writing.  Unfortunately the book is not rich in student practice exercises that focus on the students using these major components of the writing process.

Some questions about your textbook and student learning/
Can the students easily find the critical standards-based information in the textbook?
Does the book provide crystal clear examples of students doing these learning goals? (Are these exemplars?)
Does the book provide step-by-step instructions for being successful in these learning goals?
(If the students did just what the book said, would they be able to be successful in this learning goal at the highest level of thinking?)
Does the textbook warn students  how to avoid possible mis-steps in the learning process?

1 Response to “Useful Textbook or Too Bloated and Non-Useful”

  1. 1 andrea ziccarello September 7, 2008 at 5:18 pm


    I work for a non-profit agency. I have been hired to update a database manual and train all staff on it. Everyone in the agency uses this online database. In order for us to get funding from the state we are required to run reports from this database. The organization is going through many changes and the turnover rate for employees is high.

    I’m having a hard time convincing the staff that using this database is a key part of their job and the life of the agency. I am also having a hard time convincing certain co-workers that keeping the manual as simple as possible is the way to go.

    No one wants to read 60 pages on “How to log in!”

    Any thoughts or ideas welcome-

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