The 10 Best Pre-Algebra Textbooks

video play icon 10 Best Pre-Algebra Textbooks

This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in May of 2017. Math is difficult enough to understand already, so boring, out-of-date schoolbooks don’t help. If the word “equation” makes your child shudder, check out these pre-algebra textbooks. We’ve included editions that explain core concepts clearly and provide students with a proper foundation, whether you’re a pre-teen entering high school or an adult in need of a refresher. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Miller, O'Neill, and Hyde's Prealgebra

2. The Art of Problem Solving Prealgebra

3. Martin-Gay's Prealgebra

Editor's Notes

November 25, 2020:

This list had a nice balance of tomes ideal for self-study, classroom use, and homeschooling applications, and we wanted to maintain that when updating it. We also swept through and ensured every title was in the most recent iteration, so you'll see that Miller, O'Neill, and Hyde's Prealgebra and Bittinger Prealgebra 8th Edition are in their newest editions.

Texts like Glencoe Pre-Algebra First Edition, Holt McDougal Larson Pre-Algebra, and Prentice Hall Pre-Algebra are typical of what you'll find in a common core-aligned middle or high school classroom. Because we feel the Glencoe and Holt McDougal editions are more than sufficient in this area, we decided to remove Prentice Hall to make way for something a bit different.

That's where The Art of Problem Solving Prealgebra comes in. Geared toward gifted students who participate in prestigious math contests, it's ideal for challenging readers of any age who want to learn about prealgebra in a hands-on way. Each section starts with problems and gives the learner a chance to solve them without help before introducing solutions that teach algebraic techniques. With well over 1,000 problems, many find this approach to be powerfully effective when it comes to mastering a subject as tricky as math. After reading a book like this, you'll be more than prepared for whatever an algebra textbook throws your way.

Adults who feel off about choosing a selection geared toward youngsters should appreciate Prealgebra by OpenStax, Bittinger Prealgebra 8th Edition, and Lial and Hestwood's Prealgebra. By the way, Prealgebra by OpenStax is available for free online in its digital version.

March 26, 2019:

Mathematics is a subject many students struggle with, so it can be helpful to purchase additional study materials to make things just a little bit easier. We have included texts ideal for self-study, options good for parents homeschooling their kids, and books that are best-suited for classroom use to ensure we have covered every need. If you are looking for something you or your child can use to prepare themselves for an upcoming class, or something they can use to supplement their in-class text, take a look at Lial and Hestwood's Prealgebra 6th Edition, Martin-Gay's Prealgebra, McKeague's Prealgebra: A Text/Workbook 7th Edition, and Basic Math and Pre-Algebra Workbook For Dummies. They all have a straightforward approach and are written in a way that readers will need little, if any, outside assistance to understand the subject matter.

Holt McDougal Larson Pre-Algebra is a great choice for homeschooling parents and in-class use, as is Prealgebra by OpenStax, which can be adapted to suit a variety of syllabi. Prentice Hall Pre-Algebra is a very comprehensive tome that works to connect the different branches of mathematics and would be a valuable choice for classroom instruction. Miller, O'Neill, and Hyde's Prealgebra 2nd Edition works just as well for self-study as it does as a required course text.

Special Honors

Khan Academy Pre-Algebra Whether you're looking for a refresher as an adult or need some extra instruction while in middle or high school, Khan Academy's course in pre-algebra can help. It begins with the foundations and takes you from decimals and fractions to ratios, inequalities, radicals, and scientific notation. There's also a "Course Challenge" option that tests your knowledge of the skills taught in the class, which is helpful for review before a test.

Dragonbox Algebra 12+ For learners heading into middle school or finishing up elementary classes, Dragonbox Algebra 12+ is a game that can help them sharpen their math skills without even realizing it. Building on the basics taught in the Algebra 5+ game for younger children, it covers more advanced concepts like multiplication, parentheses, positive/negative signs, common denominators, factorization, and more.

4. Holt McDougal Larson Pre-Algebra

5. Lial and Hestwood's Prealgebra

6. Prealgebra by OpenStax

7. McKeague's Prealgebra: A Text/Workbook 7th Edition

8. Bittinger Prealgebra 8th Edition

9. Glencoe Pre-Algebra First Edition

10. Basic Math and Pre-Algebra Workbook For Dummies

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For more information on our rankings, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.