In the classroom, textbooks are what the teacher and students use as the basis for the course work. In the public school setting, committees are usually chosen to look at different textbooks in their subjects and determine that book fits the needs of the grade and school.
Most textbooks are accompanied by teacher guides, which provide the teacher with supplemental teaching materials, ideas, and activities to use throughout the year.
In some states, new textbooks are chosen every 3-5 years to keep up with changes in the world and teaching methods and because of repreated use by students. Textbook are extremely expensive. In public school, if the students had to buy their own books, there would be no children in public schools. One text book can cost about $85-100. With several core curriculum classes, the cost would be prohibitive for families with more than one child.
When evaluating a textbook, several areas need to be examined.
The reading level of the textbook particularly in the social sciences and science areas
- The graphic art utitlized in the book
- The approach to the subject
- The potential of ESL instruction
- The extra materials that will come with the basic book
- The use of websites for extra help
- And the cost of the textbook.
All of these aspects must be evaluated in choosing a book that will be used by every student in a particular school. When students get their new textbooks each year, most children cannot wait to share them with their parents when they get home.