April 22, 2019

Instructor Blog: The Value of Textbook and Supplemental Reading

By B&SC Blog Team

Instructor Blog: The Value of Textbook and Supplemental Reading

In high school, you may have had to lug textbooks home every day and submit assignments straight out of the textbook. Our backs are all better off not carrying those back and forth, and I don’t know anyone who misses the textbook assignments that can feel like busywork. However, even with attending college online and in the age of e-books and e-readers, there is still an advantage of sitting down with a big textbook and a highlighter.

Why print?

  • While there is lecture material in both campus-based and online courses, it will not be in-depth as several chapters on the week’s content. The content in the assigned reading will help you do better on assignments.
  • Reading a book as opposed to text on a computer forces you to interact with the content differently. It is easier to highlight, and you may simply retain the information more by reading it on paper. Here is an interesting article that discusses the differences in how are brains process information in print versus a screen:


  • You can choose to keep your textbook, which makes it easy to review material or use it as a reference.
  • Focus! When holding a textbook versus sitting at a computer, you are no longer a single tab away from endless distractions. A disciplined student can set electronics aside and sit and read the textbook without the visual distractions of messages and notifications.
  • Extra information! While your instructor selects specific chapters, there is valuable information in the other chapters as well. For example, the textbook that Bryant & Stratton Online uses for ENGL 250 contains a chapter on creating a resume. While it may not be assigned reading or useful while taking the course, it’s a great chapter to review when you are creating or updating a resume.

Supplemental Reading

The tracking calendar lists supplemental reading for most weeks. This is a great opportunity for your instructor to provide you with current articles or even videos. Because they are listed on the tracking calendar, you can easily review them even after the class has ended.

Setting Yourself Apart

While textbook and supplemental reading may seem daunting in addition to discussion and weekly assignments, it is a way to ensure you get the most out of your classes. Instructors are thrilled when students mention the textbook or supplemental readings in discussion. Learning as much as possible sets you apart to future employers and is a key to success. The assigned textbook and supplemental readings are part of your education, and wise is the student who squeezes every ounce of learning out of courses!

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