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Educators frequently are involved in textbook adoptions in various content areas, an important activity because textbook programs may define school curricula by dictating what is taught, in what sequence, and for how long. Recently, education groups have criticized school textbooks for being boring, incoherent, and "dumbed-down." Viewed from one perspective the selection of new textbooks offers little hope for improving the school reading program because by their nature textbooks can inhibit the teaching of thinking. Viewed from a different perspective, textbooks offer the potential for much improvement in the reading program, if features of the text are used to the fullest with a critical approach. Educators looking to improve the reading programs in their schools may reasonably ask, What are the positive and negative values of using textbooks? This point-counterpoint discussion focuses on four issues involved in answering that question.

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