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Textbooks are Useful to Both the Instructor and the Student

Despite the new electronic tools now available to students in their pursuit of learning, the tried and true textbook remains an absolutely essential part of students' arsenals. Whether students buy or rent textbooks, they can use them as important sources of information.

Textbooks are Useful to Both the Instructor and the Student

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Despite the new electronic tools now available to students in their pursuit of learning, the tried and true textbook remains an absolutely essential part of students’ arsenals. Whether students buy or rent textbooks, they can use them as important sources of information.

Introduction
Despite the new electronic tools now available to students in their pursuit of learning, the tried and true textbook remains an absolutely essential part of students’ arsenals. Whether students buy or rent textbooks, they can use them as important sources of information. In fact, studies have shown that students who read their textbook assignments before the accompanying lecture scored in the top 25 percent of their class. Those who scored in the lowest 25 percent were those who hardly read their textbooks at all. In fact, the lowest scoring students tended to fear their books and did not really know how to extract information from them.

Learning Styles
One of the benefits of textbooks is that they can address three learning styles, when used well. The visual style, of course, is quite obvious. As students read, they are visually inspecting the material in front of them. But also, when students highlight material in their books, they are using the kinesthetic learning style, which is moving some part of their body, in this case their hands, as they highlight the written material. The auditory style can also be utilized if students read and summarize what they have read out loud, either to themselves or to others. Research has proven that the more learning styles a student uses, the better his or her retention of the material.

Instructor’s Role
The usefulness of textbooks to instructors is:
1) to provide uniform content to the entire class with everyone using identical material;
2) to prepare students in advance as to what will be covered in each lecture; this way students can ask questions to clarify matters that the textbook may have left unclear.

Instructors need to choose textbooks that have the right balance of distracting but eye-catching material with easy-to-read presentation of the more important information. Textbooks that contain a great deal of seductive materials that may prove of greater interest to students unfortunately minimize the student’s retention of the most meaningful information that the instructor wishes to get across. On the other hand, textbooks that are boring do not help in the retention of information either.

Maximizing Retention
The more learning styles that a student can utilize, the better he or she will remember what needs to be remembered. Even if a student’s own learning style is, say, visual, he or she can still benefit from the utilization of other learning styles as well which activate more areas of the brain, leading to deeper learning. Thus, effective use of textbooks can only lead to better grades and a better overall standing in academic institutions.

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