Last semester, one of my students came to me for help with another class. She felt that the tests included material that was never covered in class. And even the stuff that was covered in class she felt she often struggled to understand fully. When I asked her how she was using her textbook, she replied, “The textbook? Oh, I don’t read the book. No one does!” I was shocked.
I think she is not unique. Many students have no idea how to use their textbooks to learn. They are overwhelmed with the reading task. There is help for them, however. You can take some time in the first week or two to help the whole class analyze how the book is structured and how they can use that structure to help them learn. This link will give you a simple lesson plan you can use in your class to talk students through how to make the textbook a tool for success. If you have any questions, contact Nancy Gray or Kristen Salathiel.