CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Baker, June.

Scarborough (Ont.), Prentice-Hall, c1984. 333pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-13-153768-7. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Robert W. Bruinsma

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

As someone who has taught high school in the past and is presently teaching undergraduates in a small college, I am painfully aware that a considerable minority of students are underachieves, not because they lack intellectual ability, but because they have not mastered basic reading and writing skills. Often these students flounder along as best they can because there is no course in the curriculum to help them acquire these skills. June Baker has written a text that a disciplined student can use; with modest help from an interested teacher, students can build a solid foundation in these basic skills in forty-five to sixty hours.

The Communication Circuit is a text written in a modified programmed format. Its first three units deal with basic reading skills (vocabulary, reading comprehension and study skills) while the remaining five units deal with writing skills from simple sentence building right through to expository essay writing. Each unit or unit section is preceded by a formative evaluation (pre-test) so that students need to spend time only on those sections in which they are weak. (I understand that a test manual containing summative tests is also available to the instructor.) Thus far, I could be describing any number of similar programmed learning packages, but the presentation and content of this text are superior. Skills such as spelling, grammar, usage, punctuation and proofreading are not only presented separately, but are integrated within each unit. Out-lining, for example, is emphasized in Units Two to Eight in ever increasing sophistication so that planning for writing is stressed (and demonstrated) as the writing skills become increasingly more complex. Whenever possible, individual skills are reinforced or related to those in other sections or units, so that this program rep-resents a type of spiral skills curriculum.

The directions for using the text are clear, the teaching examples exemplary and the answer keys complete and useful. In all, this is a very well-designed and practical manual that delivers what it promises.

I have but one quibble with this text. Most of the reading skills passages are based on Royal Bank of Canada Monthly Letters. Because these are all written in a similar style, students do not have the opportunity of practising their reading skills on more diverse and variegated discourse structures. But the overall strengths of this text far outweigh such a weakness. This text is heartily recommended.

Robert W. Bruinsma, King's College, Edmonton, Alta.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works