Review a Book

  • A great way to begin writing for the journals is to volunteer to write a review of a software, books, or products. We will send you the item to be reviewed; you read or use the item then write a 250-word review. If you are a current Council member or teach at a school that is an institutional member, you can help by refereeing manuscripts.

    Why Review Software, Books, or Products?

    The answer is simple—you always learn something. When you review software, books, or products, you learn something about writing, pedagogy, and mathematics—every single time.

    What Are the Benefits of Reviewing Software, Books, or Products?

    • It helps you keep a finger on the pulse of mathematics.
    • Your thinking skills become sharper because you have to ponder and reflect on why you liked or disliked software, books, or products.
    • You can keep or donate the items you review.
    • You share your expertise and perspective on what kinds of activities and suggestions are helpful to classroom teachers.
    • You will develop professionally. As you review new software, books, and products, you are exposed to new ideas.  
    • You will be contributing and giving back to the mathematics teachers' community.
    • You will become more professionally involved with YOUR membership organization. 

    What Is the Time Commitment for Reviewers?

    Reviewers are given two months to complete software, book, and product reviews. You may be asked to review several materials a year.

    • When an item is submitted that matches your profile, you will receive an e-mail invitation to review the item. You will be asked to provide a valid mailing address.
    • The items are mailed to you from the Reston office and are yours to keep after you complete the review.
    • E-mail your review to the address on the original e-mail.
    • If you are unable or uninterested in reviewing the item after receiving it, return it to NCTM as soon as possible, so it can be forwarded to someone else. 

    What Is the Anatomy of a Good Software, Books, or Products Review? 

    The following guidelines are given to help you review material. Write the review in narrative form, but be sure to address these points.

    • Overview: Provide an objective summary of the product's contents as they apply to some particular category or reader. Consider including one specific example from the content of the book (e.g., describe one activity). Address any distinctive features such as unconventional use of terminology, unusual topics, novel approaches, etc.
    • Accuracy: Any errors in facts should be pointed out. For example, mathematical errors discovered in the review process should be noted.
    • Uses of the material. Identify the audience(s) the product is written for, as given by the author(s), and the ways the author(s) suggest the material might be used. Note whether content and presentation of the material appear appropriate for the intended audience. If possible, use the product with students and report their reactions.
    • Software: In reviewing software, note special features and the program's ease of use. Be especially mindful of issues about installing the software and getting started.
    • Opinions: Comment on strengths and major weaknesses. If a product is good, say so and say why. If, in your opinion, a product has some weaknesses or negative characteristics, these should be described in a professional manner and, if possible, supported with examples.
    • Recommendation: Close the review with some sort of recommendation about purchase and possible uses or limitations.
    • Things to note:
    • Reviews are limited to 250 words or less and should be typed double-spaced.
    • The review should conclude with your name, affiliation, city, state abbreviation and zip code. For example: Bill Jones, Smith High School, New Orleans, LA, 10023.
    • Your review may be edited for style and clarity. Due to space limitations, your review may be shortened for publication.
    • Avoid terms and expressions that can be readily lifted out of context and misinterpreted. For example, a phrase like "should be in every classroom" can be interpreted by readers and quoted in a way that implies the product has been endorsed by NCTM. 

    How Do I Sign Up to Review?

    If you are an NCTM member—or your school has an institutional membership, select the journal(s) you wish to review for from the list below. Select "New Users: Please register here," then following the on-screen prompts. Please note that members can choose to be a reviewer, a referee, or both.

    Teaching Children Mathematics  
    Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School  
    Mathematics Teacher  
    Mathematics Teacher Educator 
    Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 

    If I Am Already a Referee for Manuscripts, How Can I become a Software, Books and Product Reviewer? 

    Select the appropriate journal from the list below. Scroll to the bottom of the screen under General Tasks. Click "Modify Profile/Password." About halfway down the profile screen, look for "Willing to Review." Use the Ctrl Key to select Educational Materials. Continue scrolling to the bottom of the screen and click "Modify Profile/Continue."

    Teaching Children Mathematics 
    Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 
    Mathematics Teacher   

    How Do I Update My Profile with New Contact Information, Interests, and Areas of Expertise? 

    Select the appropriate journal from the list below. Scroll to the bottom of the screen under General Tasks. Click "Modify Profile/Password. Make your changes, then scroll to the bottom of the screen and click "Modify Profile/Continue."

    Teaching Children Mathematics 
    Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 
    Mathematics Teacher 
    Mathematics Teacher Educator 
    Journal for Research in Mathematics Education