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Robinson, S.D., and others.

Scarborough (Ont.), Prentice-Hall, c1987. 331pp, paperbound boards, $18.50, ISBN 0-13-082108-X. CIP

Grade 10
Reviewed by Joanne K.A. Peters

Volume 15 Number 3
1987 May

Bridges 4 is the final volume of the four-volume Bridges series, designed for students of average to above-average ability in grades 7 to 10. Like the other books in the series, it can be used either as the culminating work in the four-text grouping, or as an independent text.

Those who choose to use Bridges as a language and communication textbook will find it to be highly useful for teaching students to write, read, listen to, and speak about literature. The authors make it quite clear that it "is not a replacement for the literature component in the senior-high curriculum. . .it is a companion programme, designed to extend students experiences with communication and to reinforce their awareness of literature." For this reason, careful choice of literature texts have to be made, if one is to make optimal use of Bridges 4.

As with the other texts in the series, Bridges 4 is based firmly on an understanding of and a commitment to the teaching of the writing process; those who are still exploring the process approach to the teaching of composition will find that the text provides excellent guidance, for both teacher and student, on how the process works and is applied to one's own writing. Furthermore, student activities for each chapter are a combination of individual, small-group, and paired work, providing the learner with the opportunity to actively and purposefully participate in the process of learning. Those teachers who are uncomfortable with or who have had difficulty developing group activities will find that the specific focus of the activities will do much to ease their adaptation to the use of such leaching strategies.

While the chapters in Bridges 3* could be used in whatever order the teacher chose. Bridges 4 has a more definite sequence. Each chapter is complete unto itself, but there is a definite progression from the simpler skills (the writing process and how it works, the structure of the paragraph) to more complex writing, whether in response to literature (writing about character, myth, and theme), as a means of using language to achieve a specific objective (examination of the language of persuasion, the manner in which language change takes place and neologisms become part of everyday speech), or in the creation of the products of their own imagination (the writing of a short story or a poem). As well, the writers of Bridges 4, aware of the influence of visual media upon our students, continue the teaching of critical viewing with two very challenging chapters that focus on this skill.

Six resource chapters, dealing with revision, language usage, sentence structure, and the demands of writing description, narration, and exposition, complement the seventeen chapters on the art and craft of communication.

As might be expected of a text that pays special attention to teaching the skill of critical viewing. Bridges 4 is a visually attractive text, well illustrated with black-and-white photos, two-colour drawings, and extracts from familiar comic strips. As with the preceding volume, the table of contents and index are clearly presented and several pages of citations allow one to find the source of extracts that one might wish to use in their entirety.

Whether used as a classroom text for an integrated language arts program, or as a source of additional writing activities, teachers planning to use Bridges 4 must be committed to both the process approach to the leaching of writing and to the notion that responding to literature involves the use of a wide spectrum of different, yet related skills. If, in your opinion, the formal essay is still the only form of writing worthy of instruction and serious consideration, this is not the text for you.

Joanne K.A. Peters, Sisler H.S., Winnipeg, Man.

Reviewed XIV/4 July 1986 p.178.

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