are not just another set of readers to add to a collection; they are
powerful and versatile training tools for developing literacy in a
second or foreign language (target language). A unique combination of
10 characteristics set these books apart from other language teaching
1. The two Bridge Books Series are sequenced to introduce target language literacy in a systematic manner, and they are accompanied by predesigned review sheets and student progress forms. Thus literacy trainers are not left to wonder how much progress their students have made or what they should do next.
2. The flexible lesson plan in each book adds consistency to literacy training and encourages trainers to adjust their teaching methods to meet the individual needs of their students. The plan provides succinct teaching points for working with students on a book-by-book basis. This feature eliminates the need for a separate instructor's manual that is often misplaced, unavailable, or too lengthy for basic training needs.
3. Bridge Books emphasize the language of school by addressing important content-area topics that students are expected to know. Thus, while students are developing their language and literacy skills, they are also preparing themselves to be more successful in school subject areas. The designers of Bridge Books studied the core curricula of many states in determining topics for the books. Examples include:
- Social Knowledge (emotions, friends, people at school)
- Health and Safety (nutrition, hygiene, school safety).
- Science Concepts (air, water, plants, animals, adaptation, cycles, temperature, weather).
- Geography (land, water, mountains, rivers, valleys, oceans, deserts)
- Math Concepts (counting, shapes, size)
4. Bridge Books systematically emphasize the highest frequency words
of the target language. For example, by the end of Series B (second set
of 25 books), English language learners will have had extensive
practice with 200 of the highest frequency English words which make up
approximately 60-70% of most books in English.
5. Each book contains book-specific language arts suggestions that can be used by trainers to raise their students’ awareness of the target language.
6. The writing connections in each book encourage students and their trainers to take advantage of the natural relationships between reading and writing. The simple writing activities draw students’ attention to the language they are reading in the books, thus providing them with a depth of language knowledge not possible through reading alone.
7. In addition to containing text in two languages, Bridge Books provide teachers, tutors, and parents with a language match section (middle of each page of text) that they can use to find additional similarities and differences between their students’ two languages (vocabulary, grammar, syntax, etc.). These unique instructional aids are especially helpful for trainers who are not true bilinguals themselves.
8. Bridge Books contain exciting full-color pictures that naturally stimulate interest, conversation, and vocabulary growth. Additionally, people appearing in the books come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, and literacy trainers are consistently reminded to celebrate the native languages and cultures of their students.
9. The CD ROMs included with the materials contain excellent oral readings of the books by native speakers of the two languages. The CDs can be used as an integral part of a lesson or for take-home practice activities.
10. Bridge Books are highly versatile tools. They can be used to teach second language literacy (e.g., Spanish speakers learning English), or foreign language literacy (e.g., English speakers learning Spanish). Additionally, the self-contained nature of the books (i.e., lesson plan, text, pictures, and teaching points all in one book) make these materials very portable and easily adaptable to most instructional settings, including one-on-one tutoring, small group instruction, reading center activities, family literacy efforts, cross-age and peer tutoring, bilingual classroom instruction, and dual immersion.