Examples of instructional materials include books, pamphlets, games, maps, textbooks, musical scores, notebooks, films and videos. Instructional materials can also include manipulative items for in-class lessons such as protractors, safety goggles, T-squares, blocks, chalk, models, pencils, rulers and art supplies. Using a variety of instructional materials allows students with different learning preferences to access the content being taught and increases the likelihood that all students learn effectively.
Instructional materials can be divided into fixed and flexible materials. In fixed instructional materials, such as printed textbooks or CDs, the content and material are indivisible and cannot be altered. While many students learn well from textbooks, often teachers choose to provide additional learning options for the students who struggle with reading print.
Flexible instructional materials allow content to be separated from the presentation of the content. Digital texts, for example, can be manipulated by enlarging words, using a text-to-speech converter to have the material read aloud or embedding with additional clickable information. Instructional materials can also include online resources used to convey information to students, including open-source material available for downloading.
Some states, school boards or communities have rules regarding the adoption of instructional materials within a school system. Schools and school districts often must certify that their instructional materials cover the curriculum elements required to be taught.