I selected to review Bridgeway Academy’s English series (for use with grades 7-12) because my son had disdain for every grammar and writing program we have tried to use. Considering he is now in seventh grade and his objections started in third grade, our rejection pile is big. He’s a bright kid, he just gets bored quickly with English fundamentals. When I read that The Bridgeway English books 1 and 2 are self instructional and remedial, I had a feeling this approach might work. My son loves to be independent in learning, and that proved a key factor that led to his success with this curriculum. Yes, it was a success! He’s been working through both books for two months now and not a single complaint. I am happy.
English Book 1: Focus on Grammar: (Price $23.33) Grades 7-12
This is a skills development course with each skill building on the previous one learned. Book one is meant to be used first, followed by the writing book. The student is brought right back to basics: identifying subject and predicate, noun, verb. What makes a sentence, what are the four types of sentences, and how do you differentiate between a fragment, run-on, complete, and compounds. Nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, and more. The book is spiral bound and divided into six 35-paged PAKS (Unit). Each PAK has three sections, review, a self test, and then a final test. It is important to follow the order in which the material is presented as the goal is mastery. If everything was completed in order, after the self-test you review it with your student, have him go back and review any questions missed, you can expect the desired passing grade of 80%.
English Book 2: Focus on Writing (Price $23.33) Grades 7-12. This book is not a writing program, so if you are looking for how to write essays or other types of fiction and non fiction writing this is not it. Only Letter and business writing are taught. The other lessons are on clauses, sentence variety, subject/verb agreement, writing skills, rules of capitalization/punctuation, proofreading, editing, study skills, and critical reasoning. Book 2 has twelve PAKS and also has the lesson followed by practice, review, self-test, verbal review with teacher, and unit test.
The books are black and white with some clip art type graphics and other “doodley” illustrations sprinkled throughout the pages. You’ll see some inspirational quotes here and there too:
Compassion is an attribute to be prized-Fred Rogers
Honesty is not the best policy; it is the only policy. Donald R. Howard
Bridgeway English Answer Key (Price $23.33) Finally, you will want the companion teacher answer key. It is simply a smaller version of the student’s book with the answers filled in. This is a must-have to verify the answers and correctly grade the unit tests.
It was hard to “pull” any information from my son as to what he wanted to add to this review. He said to tell you he likes this English program, and he feels confident he is learning.
I am especially pleased with the remedial factor of this program and the emphasis on mastery. If you worry (like me) that your student has not yet mastered the basics on English grammar and writing, Bridgeway is a viable option. I see now that I rushed my son too quickly on to writing assignments and reports. I’m sure that when he finishes both book 1 and 2, he will have no trouble transitioning on to high school writing.