How to judge a book by its cover--and everything else

image of book cover

At the recent LOEX Conference, I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy of Shelbie Witte, Don Latham, and Melissa Gross’: Literacy Engagement through Peritextual Analysis. Published by ALA Editions in partnership with National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), this book is a great resource for all librarians and educators working with K-16 students.

In addition to teaching our students how to do a close reading of a text, the authors encourage us to ask them to pay attention to the “peritextual” elements, all of those elements that precede or follow the body of that text, as well. Critically analyzing the context around a text, like its cover, preface, afterword, index, promotional materials, reviews, reader comments, author websites/social media accounts, etc. can help readers and researchers better understand, interpret, and evaluate the primary text.

This book looks at both print and nonprint texts and showcases examples of peritextual analysis at work in the classroom. Highly recommended for anyone teaching information literacy!


Linda Mork's picture

Linda Mork

Linda is one of three Reference Outreach & Instruction Librarians at Minitex. A former media specialist and English teacher, she holds master's degrees in both Education and Library and Information Science, and has over 25 years of experience in schools and libraries. You can reach her at 612-625-8685 or