Overcoming Textbook Fatigue: 21st Century Tools to Revitalize Teaching and Learning

Overcoming Textbook Fatigue: 21st Century Tools to Revitalize Teaching and Learning

Overcoming Textbook Fatigue: 21st Century Tools to Revitalize Teaching and Learning

Overcoming Textbook Fatigue: 21st Century Tools to Revitalize Teaching and Learning


Overcoming textbook fatigue means reaching within and beyond the textbook to access all sorts of 21st century tools, the same ones that students will be using in college, careers, and daily life.

-ReLeah Cossett Lent

Textbook fatigue is a malaise that negatively affects teachers and students. It is the result of scripted programs and step-by-step teachers' manuals that dismiss the individualization of schools, teachers, and students. Because textbooks provide a one-way distillation of information aimed at a broad, generic population, they offer little to engage or pique the interest of the 30 individuals in a classroom.

In this example-packed book, ReLeah Cossett Lent shows how educators can reclaim the curriculum by shifting the textbook from sole source to resource. She also gives advice on using Common Core State Standards throughout the school and in the classroom. Teachers, coaches, curriculum coordinators, and administrators will discover proven techniques that will revitalize teaching and learning in every content area:

•Discipline-specific writing activities that extend and deepen lessons.

•Strategies for using content-specific materials that encourage students to "read to learn."

•Effective vocabulary strategies that work throughout the curriculum.

•Methods to tap into and build background knowledge.

•Fun activities that use relevant life skills to involve and engage students in learning.

Lent highlights what's to be gained from loosening the grip on textbooks and provides practical guidance on how to accomplish that goal, using real-life examples from schools that have made the change. Overcoming Textbook Fatigue is brimming with ideas to restore the joy of teaching and learning and, in the process, boost student achievement.

Lent is a 20-year teaching veteran, an award-winning author, and an experienced international consultant specializing in literacy and communities of practice.


I began teaching in 1971. Back in the day, we didn’t have state or national standards to guide our planning. But we had textbooks. I recall that during my first month on the job, my principal told me that he was required to observe new teachers at least one time during their first month, and scheduled a date to visit my classroom the following week. He asked me what topic I would be teaching along with the lesson objectives so that he would have a context for the observation. That was easy. I simply pulled out the teacher’s edition of the textbook and showed him the topic and objectives for the next chapter. Indeed, I assumed that was my job. After all, the district had invested in textbooks and surely I was expected to use them. (My students and their parents expected that the textbooks would be used as well.) So, textbooks guided my teaching for the year.

I survived my first year and entered my second year, with a bit more experience and confidence. a few teachers on staff eschewed textbooks in a quest for “teachable moments” and relevance—remember, this was the 1970s—and I resonated with their intentions. I also appreciated the structure that textbooks afforded, however, so my teaching evolved to a blended model. in my classroom, I used the books as a base but would sometimes . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.