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Robinson, S.D. et al.

Scarborough (Ont.), Prentice-Hall, c1985. 302pp, paperbound boards, $15.50, ISBN 0-13-081944-1. CIP


Robinson, S.D. et al.

Scarborough (Ont.), Prentice-Hall, c1985. 334pp, paperbound boards, $15.50, ISBN 0-13-081951-4. CIP

Grades 5-9
Reviewed by Nancy Carlman

Volume 13 Number 4
1985 July

Hooray for the first two books in the Bridges series. These language arts/communication textbooks are Canadian, not Canadianized, reflecting Canada's history, art, culture, places, and peoples naturally. There is no sense of a homogenized North American anywhere, and thus Canadian students can identify easily with the content of the various communications exercises.

Each book begins with "The Writing Process," a phrase I find too simplistic in the singular. However, the authors carefully explain the recursiveness of writing and how different individuals adapt the process for their own purposes and audiences. Each book ends with sections on grammar and sentence combining. Book 2 approaches these sections in a more sophisticated way than Book 1, introducing, for example, appositive phrases, whereas Book 1 ends with a focus on subordinate clauses.

I have one concern about the first few pages of Bridges 1. It opens with a photograph of two children and a pedestrian bridge that students are asked to use as a basis for some writing. One of the "thought starters" is "Who are the children on this bridge and what are they doing there?" My first response is a facetious, "Why should I care?" My point is that these questions, which would be very appropriate in stimulating interest if asked in a context by a teacher, seem here to be just abrupt.

The books are sturdily bound and colourful with cartoons, diagrams, and photographs, some in full colour. The layout contains plenty of white space, and blue printing on white is juxtaposed with black on white to separate information from activities.

Nowhere do the textbooks designate a grade level, although in Bridges 1 a cartoon character named Elavia tells readers she can give good writing advice since she was in grade 7 "last year." I suspect, however, that the editors want to leave the grade level unspecified to allow teachers to determine where to use the books based on the interest and abilities of their classes.

Certainly these texts deserve consideration by middle and junior high school teachers in Canada. They reflect recent research in the teaching of English communication, and they are attractive and appropriate for Canadian students.

Nancy Carlman, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
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