Check out Strategies For Dealing With An ‘Awful’ Textbook, one of my Education Week Teacher columns. Educators Mary Ann Zehr, Christopher Lehman, 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples Kristina J. Doubet, Jessica A. Hockett, Kimberly Carraway, and Libby Woodfin share their suggestions on how we can deal with the challenge of being stuck with an awful textbook.

Fifteen ways to adapt your textbook so your students aren’t bored to death is the headline of a post appearing in my British Council blog. It’s a short except from the upcoming book Katie Hull Sypnieski and I have co-authored, The ELL Teacher’s Toolbox: Hundreds of Practical Ideas to Support Your Students.

Teachers are often required to use specific textbooks in many subjects. And many of these textbooks are horrible. I thought readers might find a list of resources where they could find ideas on adapting their textbooks in ways to make them more engaging. Most — though not all — of these posts relate to language-teaching, but many of the ideas they share can be used in other subjects.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Adapting Your Textbook So It Doesn’t Bore Students To Death:

The number one place to start is at the ELT Chat blog, which discussed the topic this past week. You definitely want to read: Summary – How to avoid death by coursebook: suggestions and advice for teachers stuck in a very regimented situation.

Rewriting History, and Nine Other Ways to Adapt Textbooks is by Paula Kluth.

To innovate within concrete, start with the cracks is by Jason Renshaw.

Animating Your Coursebook is a slideshow by Marisa Constantinides that I’ve posted about in the past.

Adapting The Textbook is slideshow by David Deubelbeiss.

The Role of Textbooks In A Language Program is by Jack Richards.

Nik Peachey has written “36 Tools for Digitising your ELT Course Book.”

Beating the Humdrum is from Language Moments, and has some excellent ideas on how to “liven-up” a less than interesting textbook.

Teaching ELLs to Navigate Textbooks Effectively
is from Colorin Colorado. It doesn’t really fit on this list, but this is the best place I have to put it for now.

20 Ways to Bring Your Textbook to Life! is by Shelly Terrell.

10 ways to use course books and encourage learner autonomy is from Online TEFL Training.

Lizzie Pinard – Course books in the language classroom: friend or foe? is from The British Council.

2 simple ideas for adapting your course book is from Lizzie Pinard.

Critical Thinking – Making the most of your coursebook is from ELT Connect.

David Petrie: Adapting your coursebook is from The British Council.

So Many Textbooks, So Many Useless Ones

Teaching From a Textbook Makes My Class More Student-Centered is by John T. McCrann and offers an intriguing perspective.

How I plan with coursebooks is from ELT Planning.


Additional suggestions are always welcome.

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You might also want to explore the over 670 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.