How to Write a Textbook Review

Textbook Review Definition

A textbook review is an evaluation of quality of the material presented in a textbook. The textbook complements, expands, and deepens the information outlined during classes and helps students to better understand the subject. In the textbook review the reviewer describes every section of the textbook using accessible and understandable language. The review should cover not only the description of textbook content, but also evaluate the significance of the textbook and its usefulness to a certain audience. If you will learn how to write a textbook review, you will easily distinguish good and bad textbooks.

how to write a textbook review

The Purpose of a Textbook Review

The main purpose of a textbook review is to show whether the textbook will be helpful for the reader. The review should help the reader understand whether the textbook is worth buying and reading. Also, the reviewer can identify the applicability of the textbook during a certain course within a particular educational institution. As a rule, a textbook review evaluates a list of criteria which determines the quality of the textbook.

There are no set rules for writing textbook reviews, that’s why we can give you only general guidelines on how to write a textbook review.

Tips to Consider While Reading the Textbook

  • Check the assignment to understand all tasks and write down questions that should be answered in the review.
  • To make a textbook review, it is preferable to read all text. If the textbook has too many pages, you can look through the contents, attentively read several paragraphs, and come up with your point of view.
  • To choose the right textbook for the review, make sure that it refers to your area of expertise and you will easily understand what the textbook is about.
  • Check the content and index to see the scope of the textbook and topic coverage.
  • Read the introductory chapter attentively, as it usually covers a recommendation from authors on how to benefit from the textbook.
  • Take a pencil and make notes while you are reading. These notes will be helpful to create an outline for your future paper.
  • Ask your classmates to look through the textbook and find out what they think about its usefulness.

Questions to Ask Before Writing

The following list of questions will help you consider all necessary points while reading. You can start answering them while reading the textbook and mention points that should be covered in your review.

– What did you expect to see in the textbook after reading the title?
– Who are the authors? Are they authoritative enough to write such textbooks?
– Does the textbook need additional materials?
– Is the textbook well structured? Is the text easy to read?
– Is the textbook affordable for the intended audience?
– At what kind of audience is this textbook aimed?
– Is the content accurate? Have you found any errors?
– Does the textbook include illustrations, tables, diagrams, etc?
– Are exercises and practical tasks manageable?
– Does the textbook have a glossary? Do important terms have definitions?
– Is theoretical information supported with examples or interesting information?
– Does the textbook have any analogs? How does this textbook differ from other textbooks?
– Has the content of the textbook fully satisfied you?
– Is the font readable? Is font size appropriate?
– How have the authors handled controversial material?
– Does the textbook contain outdated information?
– If the book is in electronic form, what formats does it support?
– Does the text use offensive or insensitive language regarding race, ethnicity, or gender?

Textbook Review Writing Steps

Step 1. Start with the rationale that will introduce the textbook to the reader. Mention the title of the textbook and the authors that took part in its creation. Also, list the components and elements of the textbook and whether it has other parts, workbooks, and additions. Evaluate the size and format of the textbook. Can it be handled in an ordinary student’s backpack? Can the cover be easily damaged? Can the student read it in bed?

Step 2. Describe the quality of the content: analyze the scope of theoretical information, quality of exercises, the number of covered topics, and the author’s language and style. Evaluate additional materials and supporting images (photos, tables, figures, etc.). Explain how the textbook structure supports learning the material. Offer examples from the textbook to support your point of view.

Step 3. Write from the perspective of the intended audience and describe how the book will be helpful for them. Imagine that you were asked to make a list of textbooks for freshmen or students that will begin the course after you. Analyze strengths and weaknesses of the textbook. Pick at least three strongest features and three missing features of the textbook. Describe what points were not covered or need additional examples. Consider the structure, content accuracy, clarity, organization, and errors. Make sure that the textbook is applicable for a certain course and its sections can be easily assigned within classes.

Step 4. In the conclusion, sum up your writing and state whether the textbook will be helpful for the intended audience. Give the textbook a ranking for comprehensiveness, content, relevance, clarity, structure, and interface. Tell about your expectations and whether they were met. Share your reading strategies that can help students use the textbook more effectively and understand information more efficiently.

Step 5. As soon as you will finish the first draft, check it for mistakes. Make sure that your text is logical and readable. Check whether you have answered all required questions.

Textbook Review Example Analysis

If you were assigned to write a textbook review, along with guidelines you need to check some textbook review samples that will help you better understand how to write this kind of paper. In the sample you can see how the author approached the evaluation of the textbook and find some ideas for writing your own textbook review. Visit our samples page to find more papers for analysis.

Textbooks play an important role in the life of students and post-graduates that strive to gain new knowledge. Only those textbooks that contain up-to-date information, have clear language, and good structure can help people easily learn new things. That’s why choosing the right books for the course will increase students’ productivity.


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