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Bridging the Gap: College Reading (with Study Card for Vocabulary), 8th Edition

By Brenda D. Smith

Published by Pearson

Published Date: May 24, 2006


Written for the mid to high-level developmental reading course, Bridging the Gap, by Brenda Smith continues to be the #1 textbook choice of developmental reading educators. Bridging the Gap was the first book to focus on how to read college textbooks. Over the course of several editions, this theme has been broadened by linking textbook readings to recent news in the popular press and adding material on critical thinking and the Internet. A hallmark of the text, the end-of-chapter readings represent three different reading levels (9th-10th, 10th-12th, 12th+) to permit individualization of assignments to meet varying student needs. A variety of academic disciplines are represented throughout, including psychology, history, biology, business, allied health, English literature, and more.

Table of Contents

An Overview of Bridging the Gap.

1. Active Learning.

What Is Active Learning?

What Is Cognitive Psychology?

How Does the Brain Screen Messages?

Is Divided Attention Effective?

Can Tasks Become Automatic?

Automatic Aspects of Reading.

Cognitive Styles.

What Is Concentration?

Poor Concentration: Causes and Cures.

External Distractions.

Internal Distractions.

Reader's Tip: Improving Concentration.

Focusing on Successful Academic Behaviors.

Reader's Tip: Managing E-Mail Efficiently.

Summary Points.

Selection 1: Computer Science.

Contemporary Focus: “Police in India to Moniter Cybercafes” from the Associated Press.

“Security and Privacy for Computers and the Internet” by H. L. Capron.

Search the Net.

Secrets of a Successful Search.

1. Make a Plan.

Reader's Tip: Popular College Databases.

2. Search and Search Again.

Reader's Tip: Manipulating the Search.

3. Read Selectively.

4. Record as You Go.

5. Consider the Source.

Concept Prep for Computer Science.

Selection 2: Psychology.

Contemporary Focus: “Lions, Tigers- Wild Animals, Not Pets” from the Desert Morning News .

“Critical-Period Hypothesis” by James V. McConnell.

Concept Prep for Psychology.

Reader's Journal.

2. Vocabulary.

Remembering New Words.

Using Context Clues.


Elaborating Details.




Limitations of Context Clues.

Multiple Meanings of a Word.

Unders tanding the Structure of Words.

Using a Dictionary.

Word Origins.

Using a Glossary.

Using a Thesaurus.

Using Analogies.

Reader's Tip: Categories of Analogy Relationships.

Easily Confused Words.

Recognizing Acronyms.

Recognizing Transitional Words.

Reader's Tip: Signals for Transition.

Summary Points.

Vocabulary Bookster: Over, Under, Around.

3. Strategic Reading and Study.

What is Strategic Reading?

What are the Stages of Reading?

Stage 1: Previewing.

Signposts for Answering Preview Questions.

Reader's Tip: Asking Questions Before Reading.

Preview to Activate Schemata.

Stage 2: Integrating Knowledge While Reading.

Expanding Knowledge.

Integrating Ideas: How Do Good Readers Think?

Reader's Tip: Using Thinking Strategies While Reading.


Reader's Tip: Developing a Metacognitive Sense for Reading.

Stage 3: Recalling for Self-Testing.

Recall by Writing.

Reader's Tip: Recalling After Reading.

How to Recall.

Summary Points.

Selection 1: History.

Contemporary Focus: “Television: Remembering the Alamo from a Tejano Perspective" from The Boston Globe .

Tejanos at the Alamo , by J.K. Martin et al, America and Its Peoples .

Concept Prep for History.

Selection 2: Sociology.

Contemporary Focus: “Mixed Signals on Body Language” from The Business Traveler.

“Unity in Diversity” by Donald Light, Jr., and Suzanne Keller.

Concept Prep for Anthropology.

Reader's Journal.

4. Main Idea.

What is a Topic?

What is a Main Idea?

What are Supporting Details?

Distinguishing Topics, Main Ideas, and Details: A Closer Look.

Main Idea Strategies.

“Informed” Expert Readers.

“Uninformed” Expert Readers.

Using Main Idea Strategies with Sentences.

Questioning for the Main Idea.
Stated Main Ideas.

Reader's Tip: Finding the Main Idea.

What are Major and Minor Details?

Reader's Tip: Signals for Significance.

Unstated Main Ideas.

Determining Unstated Main Ideas in Sentences.

Interpreting the Main Idea of Longer Selections.

Reader's Tip: Getting the Main Idea of Longer Selections.

Summary Writing: A Main Idea Skill.

Why Summarize?

Reader's Tip: How to Summarize.

Summary Points.

Selection 1: Psychology.

Contemporary Focus: “Centers Strive to Break Cycle of Violence” from the Herald-Dispatch .

“Monkey Love” by James V. McConnell.

Concept Prep for Psychology.

Selection 2: Short Story

Contemporary Focus: “Former Los Angeles Gang Member,” from Ball State University U-WIRE.

“On the Sidewalk Bleeding,” by Evan Hunter.

Concept Prep for Literature.

Selection 3: Criminal Justice.

Contemporary Focus: “U.S. Coast Guard’s Efforts to Protect Port” from the Associate Press, International News.

“International Terrorism,” by Charles Swanson, Neil Chamelin, and Leonardo Territo.

Concept Prep for Criminal Justice.

Vocabulary Booster: Who’s Who in Medicine?


5. Patterns of Organization.

Textbook Organization.

What Do Transitional Words Do?

Reader's Tip: Signal Words for Transition.

Patterns of Organization in Textbooks.

Simple Listing.



Time Order or Sequence.



Comparison and Contrast.

Cause and Effect.




Location or Spatial Order.

Generalization and Example.

Reader's Tip: Patterns of Organization and Signal Words.

Mixed Organizational Patterns.

Summary Points.

Selection 1: Economics.

Contemporary Focus: “Enslaved at an Early Age” from The Economist .

“Slave Redemption in Sudan” by Roger LeRoy Miller, Daniel K. Benjamin, and Douglass C. North.

Concept Prep for Economics.

Selection 2: History.

Contemporary Focus: “Trused Policy Advisor” from

“Women in History” by Leonard Pitt.

Concept Prep for History.

Selection 3: Business.

Contemporary Focus: “Low Carb Pizza Options” from The Omaha World Herald .

“Why is Papa John’s Rolling in the Dough?” by Courtland Bovee, John Thill, Barbara Schatzman.

Concept Prep for Business.

Vocabulary Booster: What’s In, What’s Out? What’s Hot, What’s Not?


6. Organizing Textbook Information.

The Demands of College Study.

Building Knowledge Networks.

Methods of Organizing Textbook Information.


Reader's Tip: How to Annotate.


Reader's Tip: How to Take Notes.


Reader's Tip: Avoiding Pitfalls in Outlining.


Reader's Tip: How to Map.

Summary Points.

Selection 1: Communications.

Contemporary Focus: “Media-Promoted Morals Cloud Judgment” from The Sentry .

“Influence of Magazines” by John Vivian.

Concept Prep for Communication.

Selection 2: Allied Health.

Contemporary Focus: “Signs of Stress” from the Kansas City Star .

“Nutrition, Health, and Stress” by Barbara Brehm.

Concept Prep for Health.

Vocabulary Booster: The Sun, The Moon, The Stars.


7. Inference.

What Is an Inference?

Connotation of Words.

Figurative Language.




Literary Analogies.



Verbal Irony.

Figurative Language and Implied Meaning in Poetry.

Inferences from Facts.

Appropriate and Inappropriate Inferences.

Implied Meaning.

Prior Knowledge and Implied Meaning.

Expanding Prior Knowledge.

Drawing Conclusions.

Reader's Tip: Making Inferences.

Summary Points.

Selection 1: Short Story.

Contemporary Focus: “High-Stakes Palaces of Gambling” from the Hartford Courant .

“Ah Bah’s Money” by Catherine Lim.

Concept Prep for Philosophy and Literature.

Selection 2: Short Story.

Contemporary Focus: “O. Henry’s Storytelling” from News & Record .

“Witches’ Loaves” by O. Henry.

Selection 3: Narrative Nonfiction.

Contemporary Focus: “Remembering a Civil Rights Hero” from The Dartmouth .

“Learning to Read: Malcolm X,” from The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley.

Concept Prep for Political Science.

Vocabulary Booster: Can I Get that in Writing?


8. Point of View.

Is a Textbook Influenced by the Author's Point of View?

What Is the Author's Point of View?

What Is the Reader's Point of View?

What Is a Fact and What Is an Opinion?

Reader's Tip: Questioning to Uncover Bias.

What Is the Author's Purpose?

What Is the Author's Tone?

Reader's Tip: Recognizing an Author's Tone.

Editorial Cartoons.

Summary Points.

Selection 1: Essay.

Contemporary Focus: “Orphans-To-Be?” from Newsday .

“Elderly Parents: A Cultural Duty” by Ta Thuc Phu.

Selection 2: Essay.

Contemporary Focus: “Bridging the Gap between Muslims and the West” from the Austin American Statesman .

“Leaving Islam and Living Islam” by Azam Kamguian.

Vocabulary Booster.

9. Critical Thinking.

What Is Thinking?

What Is Critical Thinking?

Applying Skills to Meet College Goals.

Reader's Tip: How to Think Critically.

Barriers to Critical Thinking.

Recognizing an Argument.

Steps in Analyzing an Argument.

Step 1: Identify the Position on the Issue.

Step 2: Identify Support for the Argument.

Reader's Tip: Categories of Support for Arguments.

Step 3: Evaluate the Support.

Step 4: Evaluate the Argument.

Inductive and Deductive Reasoning.

Applying the Four-Step Format for Critical Thinking:

An Example.

Explanation of the Steps.

Creative and Critical Thinking.

Summary Points.

Selection 1: Essay.

Contemporary Focus: “Physical Beauty Involves More Than Good Looks” from Ascribe Newswire .

“The Importance of Being Beautiful” by Sidney Katz.

Selection 2: Editorial Essay.

Contemporary Focus: “Cell Phones and Cancer: No Clear Connection” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Consumer Magazine.

“Study Links Cell Phones to Brain Damage” by Elizabeth Svodoba.

Selection 3: Editorial Essay.

Contemporary Focus: “The Ethics of Eggs” by Brenda D. Smith.

“Marketing Fertility” by Sheila Cooper and Rosemary Patton.

Vocabulary Booster: Lights, Camera, Action!

10. Graphic Illustrations.

What Graphics Do.


Reader's Tip: How to Read Graphic Material.



Pie Graphs.

Bar Graphs.

Cumulative Bar Graphs.

Line Graphs.


Summary Points.

Selection 1: Allied Health.

Contemporary Focus: “Message in a Bottle," from The Age, Melbourne.

“Alcohol and Nutrition” by Eva May Nunnelley Hamilton et al.

Concept Prep for Life Science.

Vocabulary Booster: Play It Again, Sam

11. Rate Flexibility.

Why Is Rate Important?

What Is Your Reading Rate?

How Fast Should You Read?

Rate Variations and Prior Knowledge.

Techniques for Faster Reading.


Stop Regressing.

Expand Fixations.

Monitor Subvocalization.


Use Your Pen as a Pacer.

Push and Pace.


Reader's Tip: Techniques for Skimming.


Reader's Tip: Techniques for Scanning.

Summary Points.

Selection 1: Allied Health.

“Passive Smoking” by Curtis Byer and Louis Shainberg.

Selection 2: Sociology.

“Heredity or Environment? The Case of Identical Twins” by James M. Henslin.

Vocabulary Booster: Foreign Terms.


12. Test Taking.

Can Being Test Wise Improve Your Score?

Strategies for Mental and Physical Awareness.

Before Taking a Test.

Reader's Tip: Preparing for a Test.

During the Test.

After the Test.

Strategies for Standardized Reading Tests.

Read to Comprehend the Passage as a Whole.

Anticipate What Is Coming Next.

Read Rapidly, But Don't Allow Yourself to Feel Rushed.

Read with Involvement to Learn and Enjoy.

Self-Test for the Main Idea.

Recognizing the Major Question Types.

Main Idea.


Implied Meaning.


Strategies for Multiple-Choice Items.

Consider All Alternatives Before Choosing an Answer.

Anticipate the Answer and Look for Something Close to It.

Avoid Answers with 100 Percent Words.

Consider Answers with Qualifying Words.

Choose the Intended Answer Without Overanalyzing.

True Statements Must Be True Without Exception.

If Two Options Are Synonymous, Eliminate Both.

Study Similar Options to Determine the Differences.

Use Logical Reasoning If Two Answers Are Correct.

Look Suspiciously at Directly Quoted Pompous Phrases.

Simplify Double Negatives by Canceling Out Both.

Use Can't-Tell Responses If Clues Are Insufficient.

Validate True Responses on “All of the Following Except.

Note Oversights on Hastily Constructed Tests.

Strategies for Content Area Exams.

Multiple-Choice Items.

Short-Answer Items.

Essay Questions.

Reader's Tip: Key Words in Essay Questions.

Locus of Control.

Summary Points.  

Appendix: ESL: Making Sense of Figurative Language and Idioms.




Additional Course Materials

Preparing for the CUNY-ACT Reading and Writing Test

ISBN-13: 978-0-321-19608-8

$64.40 $61.18 | Add to Cart

What Every Student Should Know About Study Skills

ISBN-13: 978-0-321-44736-4

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