Textbooks have changed much over the past century. We have evolved from the
early primers, to Dick and Jane, to modern textbooks that cover today's abundant supply
of curriculum standards. While the numerous amounts of standards have increased over
the past few years, so has the weight of the textbooks.
Today's elementary school textbooks are the size and weight of college level books of
a few years ago. Along with this extra weight comes a burden that might not have been
envisioned twenty-five years ago. Today's young school children are being subjected to
injuries that have brought about much controversy over the past several years. I am of
course talking about backpack injuries.
Since 1997, Weekly Reader magazine has conducted studies on the average weight of
backpacks of fourth graders in the United States. The average weight during this
period has been close to eight pounds. (Weekly Reader March 2002) Some fourth graders
have even said they have carried as much as fifty pounds of textbooks and school
supplies in their backpacks at times.
(Weekly Reader March 2002)
When you consider the average textbook weighs over two pounds and each student has a
textbook in at least five subjects, it is easy for the weight of the textbooks to total over the
recommended weight of fifteen percent as stated by the American Occupational Therapy
Association in their recommended guidelines (Backpack Strategies February 18).
There is a solution to these problems related to heavy textbooks. We are at a point in our technology that we can start the process of converting our textbooks to digital media sources. There are many schools and districts that have done just that.
Warren Consolidated Schools in Sterling Heights, MI is one of the school systems taking this modern approach to learning.