OUT AND ABOUT
Volume 11 Number 3.
Thresholds is a series of literature anthologies designed specifically for junior high school students in grades 7, 8, and 9. The program is sequentially organized for the development of skills and concepts appropriate to each of these grade levels. The prose and poetry selections are well blended together in themes that would appeal to teenagers and give focus to the teacher's planning.
The editors and consultants are teachers and program co-ordinators from across Canada. The integration of Canadian works is smooth and relevant. Each unit has a core piece for full class study, several related selections, plus further extensions for those who wish to pursue an interest or need enrichment.
The short stories are just that, short enough to maintain interest and be covered in two to three periods of study. The questions ask for clarification, discussion, consideration, exploration, and response. They are presented at several levels of difficulty, not merely Bloom's lowly factual recall stage. The questions are more general in scope and ask for thinking, discussing, and sharing of ideas. Often creative writing assignments will be generated. Alternate methods of presenting findings are also recommended.
The teacher's guide suggests a variety of possible thematic groupings for group or individual study. This allows for self-directed learning and personal reading and writing as advised by the Ontario ministry of education intermediate English guideline.
Many of the old standbys, mythology, ballads, the narrative, and sonnets, are introduced but the depth to which they are to be pursued as genre study can be individualized for the student or group. This also follows the current philosophy that stresses process and enjoyment over staid literary study in the intermediate years of language and literature programs. Personal interests and abilities can easily be addressed with this series’ offerings.
Each text includes an excellent handbook of terminology with notation whenever the term is introduced or used. This will encourage students to look up the meaning and understand its application in context in a variety of works. There is also a very useful glossary of vocabulary found in the stories and poems. This will aid in comprehension and could lead to word study. The index lists works by genre groupings as well as alphabetical by author and title so students can plan their own independent study based on the appeal of an initially positive experience. A short biography of each author is provided to lend insight into the work and to stimulate interest in further reading.
The notes in the teacher's guide give a rationale for inclusion of items, points of interest, possible directions of further pursuit, and simple abstracts of the work for quick perusal when planning units. The readability scores from three different researchers are included for guidance on difficulty level for grouping.
This appears to be an excellent new series, thoughtfully collected and prepared, to aid the teacher with planning and individualizing a program. It also has kept the student in mind by providing interesting themes, a variety of question assignment types, and stimulus for further personal reading.
Linda May Bell, Wellington County Board of Education, Guelph, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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