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There are essential parts of your text that can make your reading experience much easier if you know what they are and how to use them.    Take a few minutes and get to know your text because you will be spending a lot of time with it this semester.

"Hello, I am your class textbook and I have many qualities that many students never use.   I am expensive and required for the class, so why not get to know me a little better.  Here are some of my best assets."

My Title Page

Looking at my title page lets you know my name, who created me, how old I am, where I am from, and how many times I have been revised.


This page gives the author a chance to thank people who have inspired him/her as well as to mention people who have contributed to the creation of the text.

My Preface (pref'is)

This page is usually brief but valuable for you to read.   It introduces the author's purpose for writing the text and provides suggestions for efficiently using the text.

Table of Contents

This part of the text is very valuable because it is the roadmap for the journey through the text.   It outlines chapter headings and key points.   It provides a sequence of ideas along with page numbers for easy reference.   You should constantly refer to these pages during a course.

Chapter Introductions

Most texts provide an overview of the chapter using quotes, pictures, anecdotes, and summaries.  These introductions help to establish the scope of information to be covered in any particular chapter.

Pictures, Charts, Maps, Graphs, and Diagrams

These visual additions are not only attractive to look at but serve as reminders that a key point is being emphasized in the chapter.    Graphics and pictures usually summarize key information presented in a chapter.   Don't skip over them because they serve a vital purpose beyond filling up space.

Chapter Questions/Quizzes

Authors add these test features to help the reader review the information to see if he or she has learned the important points.    If all the questions can't be answered, then the reader should return to that part of the chapter and reread the information.


Some texts include a dictionary of key words used in the text.   Sometimes the words include the page number where they can be found in context.   Knowledge of the vocabulary associated with any subject is essential to comprehending the information.

Answer Key

Believe it or not, some texts include a partial or complete answer key at the end of the text, and students many times do not bother to look until they are halfway through a semester.


This is where you can quickly locate any name, event, idea, concept, location, etc. in the text.   The index page includes the page number where the information is located.


This is not a body part.   It is where any additional information related to the text theme is located.  Authors may add additional charts, maps, lists, and supplemental information for the reader.