This study aims to investigate how culture is employed in English language textbooks, which are used for 3rd and 4th grade students in state schools in Turkey. The study explores the cultural content and the usage frequency of elements related to native culture, target culture and international culture in the series of textbooks. In order to analyse the series of textbooks, descriptive content analysis is used. Quantitative data are gathered through Checklist and Item Frequency Analysis. The results of the study indicate that 3rd grade textbook has more cultural items than 4th grade textbook does in total. The findings also point out that there is an unbalance among culture related items, which means native culture items are less than target and intercultural items in both 3rd and 4th grade textbooks. Consequently, this study also makes suggestions about how cultural load may be presented in those textbooks by indicating a need for rich cultural content. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.