Why Does Nobody Like School Textbooks?

Nov 29, 2022



The information that a teenager receives with the help of a TV or a computer is quickly absorbed. On the contrary, reading requires certain efforts and skills. If a student reads quickly and carelessly, they may simply not understand the meaning of what they read – the words will not turn into an image. Also, a student may have vision problems (this is a huge problem in the age of smartphones and personal computers), and it will be physically difficult for them to read.

Reading takes time and effort. In the age of virtual reality, online entertainment, and wireless communications, reading is like cooking your food on a fireplace. Especially when it comes to reading textbooks, as most of them were designed in the 20th century and have not been changed or updated ever since. Such textbooks contain mostly text and no little to no visual information, to say nothing of the interactive component.


In the pre-smartphone and PC century, books were the main entertainment and the only way to gain knowledge. There was no such choice as now, so school students read tons of textbooks and literature, and knew how to work with the text of any complexity. Modern students experience difficulties with motivation to read classical literature and school textbooks. They do not want to read books from the school curriculum, they consider reading boring and not prestigious.

Students find reading textbooks boring and demotivating. They are used to consuming information and knowledge from videos, films, and smartphones. Their attention lifespan is very short, while reading textbooks requires a long concentration and mostly quiet setup.  


Teenagers take an example from their parents, copying their behavior. If mom and dad prefer to spend their free time on the TV or computer, the child will not start reading books on their own initiative. Without the help of parents, one will not even suspect that they can read a book just like that, yourself. A habit won’t develop if you force yourself to read. This will cause protest and resistance, and the process of reading will be associated with negative emotions.

Reading school textbooks sharply contradicts playing on a smartphone or a PC. Today’s students grew up with gadgets in their hands; they are simply not used to paper textbooks. It is too late to change this habit, and, frankly, there is very little reason.  

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Understanding and perception of a text are directly related. Often in school textbooks, we find words that are not used in life. We don’t know their meaning, as a result, the words read are not associated with the image, the plot becomes incomprehensible, and the book becomes uninteresting.

A student with sufficient vocabulary may also have difficulty understanding the text. For example, it is difficult for them to concentrate and hold their attention, follow all the details, and find a hidden meaning in the plot and actions of the characters.


This point is the last on our list, but it is not the least in terms of its weight. Indeed, students struggle to find enough time for studying textbooks. In a classical 20th-century educational paradigm, a student should devote at least 50% of their school time to reading books. 

However, in the 21st century with all its gadgets and speed of communications, there is an educational paradigm shift going on – studying is no longer a solitary exercise, where you sit in a quiet room and read book by book. In fact, contemporary research is showing that studying becomes more productive when combined with practice, and when it is done in collaboration with peers.

For modern and socially active students, there is simply not enough time for reading textbooks. This is especially true for those students, who need to combine studies with part-time work and family responsibilities.   


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