Textbook Review 101

Justin Oei

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Some books we read, whether it be by choice or by force, are rather amusing. Others can be

extremely odious and painful just to open up to a page. This week, the Omega is pleased to release its

reviews of selected textbooks here at Oratory.


1. Ecce Romani (Pearson): This is an ideal Latin textbook for anyone with a serious desire to learn

the language but with limited time. The brevity of the lessons and the way grammatical forms

are communicated make learning this ancient language actually fun. I also think that the

dramatic increase of my foreign language grades from my 6th grade year to this, my 8th grade

year, can point to this excellent, succinct, and well-organized textbook as catalysts.

2. The American Journey (Glencoe): While this book is better than others that I’ve seen, it seems

highly repetitive – and the textbook website is always down. Since this is an ebook, that needs

to be remedied ASAP. The content is pretty much what you’d expect in a standard history text,

but nothing really special other than the text of the Constitution printed and explained…wait,

that’s standard!?!?!

3. World Geography and Cultures (Glencoe): This is the best Geography textbook I have seen. At

my old school, I had purchased another, comparable textbook to study for the National

Geographic Bee. However, when I came to Oratory, I found that this book explained the

concepts better than the other book did.

4. Larson Algebra I (Holt): Very good examples, but they can be difficult to apply to other


5. Earth and Space iScience (McGraw Hill): This science book is so much better than a similar text I

used in 6th grade. Since many textbooks are recycled from year-to-year, the one I originally

learned Earth Science from still included Pluto as a planet! This one is markedly better inasmuch

that the text is well supplemented with pictures.

Overall, the textbooks that are published nowdays are very in-depth, informative, and frankly, better-

written than the third-grade reading primers we grew up with. I personally think this is due to the fact

that, when aging, we are able to utilize multimedia experiences to our advantage – such as the textbook

websites which strangely are better-written than the books themselves. Kudos to (most) textbook

publishers, and continue making my education easier.

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