Selecting Textbooks for Literacy Instruction

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  • 0:00 Textbooks
  • 0:46 Types
  • 2:19 Criteria
  • 4:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

The process of choosing textbooks for a classroom can be an intimidating one. Let's take the stress out of selecting textbooks! We'll examine the types of literacy textbooks and criteria for selecting the best textbook for literacy instruction.


Allie needs to select a textbook for her literacy class. She knows that she needs a textbook, but she isn't sure which one to choose. How should she decide?

A textbook is a book that is used as a standard work in a particular subject. In math or science classrooms, textbooks contain important information about math or science. In literacy, textbooks usually include works by various authors, as well as activities and questions for students to answer. As we've seen, Allie needs to buy a textbook for her classroom, but she's not sure which one to choose. To help her out, let's look at the two major types of literacy textbooks and some criteria for evaluating textbooks.


OK, Allie needs to choose a textbook. But, she's noticed that they all look pretty different. Some of them focus on one thing, like grammar or writing, while others seem to hit on many different literacy skills. There are four major literacy skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. How a textbook balances these skills determines what type of textbook it is.

Core textbooks, which are also called basal readers, integrate all four literacy skills into one book. For example, a basal reader might have a short story followed by a series of questions and activities focused on testing reading comprehension, as well as generating writing assignments and class or small-group discussions. In this way, all four literacy skills are engaged in the textbook at once.

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