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6.2.2: External Textbook Features Project Presentation

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    READING 091

    External Textbook Features

    Textbook Analysis Project/Paper

    Learning Objectives: Learn how external textbook features facilitate your academic reading comprehension and study skills.

    • Analyzing a print college textbook’s front matter and back matter features. 
    • Analyzing a print college textbook’s external features within a chapter.

    • NEXT CLASS: Analyzing an online textbook chapter (the first in our Communications Unit). BRING YOUR PRINT TEXTBOOK ON WEDNESDAY AS WELL.

    OVERVIEW: Your Textbook Analysis Project

    • Textbook structures matter.

    • Related RDG 100 competencies:

    Screen Shot 2019-08-24 at 12.08.41 PM.png

    • Prompt reviewed.

    • Today’s notebook exercises completed.

    • Your textbook analysis in process compared. 

    • The assignment and rubric reviewed.

    • Today’s content de-briefed.

    Text Organization and Its Relationship to Reading Comprehension 

    • Well-presented physical text facilitates reading comprehension.

    • Text structure and student awareness of text structure are highly related to reading comprehension.**

    • Explicit instruction in the physical presentation of text and/or text structure facilitates reading comprehension. 

    • That’s what we are doing with the textbook project!


    Your mission is to explain, in an organized process essay, to a person like yourself how to use your college textbook to the fullest advantage. 

    (It is acceptable to use the second person “you” in this paper since you are telling someone how to do something. However, your writing should be carefully proofread,)

    Key Vocabulary

    • External structures – the way the text is physically presented; today’s focus is on these physical text features/structures.

    • Internal structures – the way the actual content is developed through organizationalpatterns of development such as cause/effect, comparison/contrast, definition, etc. 

    • In your today’s lesson, you will focus on external structures.

    • Front Matter: The content typically found in the front of a book (table of contents, preface, directions for using the book).

    • Back Matter: The content

    • Skimming:The practice of moving eyes over text quickly to get an overview and main ideas of the text.

    • Scanning: Thepractice of reading texts very quickly to find a particular piece of information. 

      • This is where “control-f” (PC) or “command-f” (Mac) comes in handy in the digital age!

    Take a “big picture” look at your textbook: Physical Text Features that Facilitate Learning 

    • Title and Type of Source (book, magazine, online source) layout

    • Targetaudience

    • Publishing Information

    • Authors/editors; author bio and background notes

    • Preface

    • Table of Contents

    • Glossary

    • Index

    • Headings
    • Subheadings
    • Questions
    • Summaries
    • Auxiliary content such as additional text boxes, maps, online links, quotations from the text or elsewhere, images, charts, diagrams, etc.

    • References

    • You probably can find others!

    Notebook Entry: External Features     10/13

    Front Matter

    Back Matter



    Feature Purpose

    *How does this feature help me read, comprehend, and learn the material?

    Consistent External Features within Chapters that Facilitate Reading and Learning

    • Headings

    • Subheadings

    • Questions

    • Summaries

    • Auxiliary content such as additional text boxes, maps, online links, quotations from the text or elsewhere, images, charts, diagrams, etc.

    • References

    • You probably can find others!

    • Chapter Analysis

    • How do the external text features organize the chapter?

    • Explain how that facilitates your reading.

    External Text Features within Chapters
    (Try for 8-10!)




    *How does this feature help me read, comprehend, and learn the material?

    Here’s the textbook project outline:

    1. Introduce the textbook to your fellow student and give a rationalefor using the textbook to actively engage with related course content.

    2. Explain the external structures of the textbook (not within the chapters) and how they support learning of the material. Be very specific and give examples. Critiquethe quality of these structures so your fellow student will know what to expect.

    3. Select a chapter to analyze more fully. What external structures organize the chapter to help students read effectively, learn, and review the content? How will you explain this to another student?

    4. Write a conclusion to the paper.

    Group De-brief 

    • What did you and your group members learn through this exercise?

    • What did you learn that might help you with reading and learning from textbooks in the future?

    • Prepare to report out: each group member needs to be prepared to be called on to report his or her group’s responses to the questions above.


    • Start organizing and adding to the content you selected from your book today to meet the criteria of the textbook paper project.

    • Textbook Analysis Paper Project DUE  _____ at the beginning of the period in hard copy print out. You can print your paper for free (unless you’ve used your allotment) at any of the labs on campus.

    • Download the Word Document from Canvas.

    • Sign up with a Writing Center tutor, a free service, to help you proofread your paper.

    • Come to my office hours or make an appointment if you need additional coaching on this assignment.


    6.2.2: External Textbook Features Project Presentation is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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