3 Small Joys of Reading Textbooks

A funny textbook page

Click to enlarge

I want to set the record straight: I am not saying that reading textbooks is fun. Most people would rather do something else that’s more fun, like getting a cavity drilled or walking into a glass door.

There are, however, small things that can make reading a textbook go from the ‘I feel like I’m bleeding to death through my brain’ level to the ‘I can’t feel my toes’ level. To any adults reading this, that may not sound like a big improvement, but I’ll ask you: have you ever bled to death? Just how in-touch with your inner toe are you?

Long Headings

Most of the time, your teachers will assign you a set number of pages to read for homework. Because teachers want to make the pages easy to remember, they’ll often pick some nice round numbers, like ‘10-30’ or ‘100-500.’

Thus, anything that takes up space that isn’t text is a huge relief, and headings do this well. Usually, and tragically, they are usually only one line (or the size of three lines of text).

In special cases, though, you’ll be blessed with a three-line heading, such as “The Confrontations, Reformations, Social Situations, Trade Negotiations, Revelations, Stations, Nations, Affirmations, Appalachians, and Sensations of January 15th, 1350, to January 16th, 1350.” Sure, you’ll go brain-dead reading the next section, but on the bright side, it took you only ten seconds to read what otherwise could have been fourteen lines of text!

Familiar Pictures

Pictures, maps, and diagrams can also take up a lot of space. Sadly, this is often misleading. For example, a diagram of the Schrodinger’s cat idea may literally cause your brain’s anterior cortex to explode.

The nice thing is that sometimes, you’ll actually recognize the picture. This is very rare, because teens have basically no information retention. For instance, let’s say you’ve spent the last seven years of your life with a map of the US hanging in your room. You’ve seen this map up to six times a day, and know the exact color of each state (NY is yellow, NJ is pale red, etc). Then, you come across a map of the US in your history textbook. You are stumped. You’ve never seen this shape before in your life. What is it? Thankfully, the caption alerts you to the fact that it is a map of….I’ve already forgotten. Whatever it was.

Nonetheless, familiar pictures do rarely appear, such as the Mona Lisa, a cube, or a graph of the increasing average price of celery futures at a produce market in western Kentucky. This saves us the time of reading whatever could have been on that page.

Vocabulary Blurbs

In some textbooks, there are often vocabulary boxes in the margins, with a few words every couple of pages. This adds to your reading time, because, again, it lies in the blank margins.

However, vocabulary boxes have the power to make you feel smart, which is why they can actually be happy breaks from the material. You might be reading about the causes of the causes of the causes of the civil war, thinking it’s totally German to you (minus the angry, spittle-spraying consonants). Then, you’ll come across a vocabulary box*.

*If the vocabulary box also sounds like German, you might actually be reading a German textbook. A common mistake, especially on Thursdays, after days of little to no sleep. I suggest you put it down and see if you can find your history book.

The vocabulary box will start with a flashy title, like “Vocabulary for You!” or “Vocab Stop!” Then, it will have a word and its definition. Let’s say, for the sake of example, that the word is “war.”

No way! You know that word! Thanks to your childhood of violent video games (no titles needed) and violent games (such as Monopoly: Mexican Drug Lord version), not to mention violent toy soldiers and violent TV shows, you know what a war is! You feel brilliant! You must be a genius! Sure, you don’t even know what “vocabulary” means, but you knew the word inside of the box!

Textbook reading is awful, and it’s probably going to stay that way regardless of whether you read it on paper, on e-ink, on an LCD screen, or on a tattoo on your forearm. Thankfully, there are little breaks in the action, or should I say, little bits of action in the boringness that is breaking your brain.

Reading textbooks can get stressful. Sometimes, you just need a way to bowl – I mean, blow – off steam. And in that case, this post from last year should have you covered: “The Complete Teenage Guide To Bowling With Friends.”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Additional Resources

Want more?

Like this post? Want more just like it? Have a strange rash on your arm that is slowly turning into an alien life form? Subscribe to get more-convenient and free (yes, that is even the solution to that last question).

Grab our Ebook!

Our ebook cover

Want more hilarious content? Get our ebook! It's 5,500+ words with 19 exclusive pictures. You can pick up your copy on our ebook page.

Grab the Badge!

my badgeIf you want to share this blog with your readers, you can copy and paste the html code below.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: