Main Article Content

A university bridging course focusing on academic reading and writing skills

Arlys van Wyk


The University of the Free State, like all tertiary institutions in South Africa, is faced with the challenge of redressing inequalities in higher education and providing access to students from previously disadvantaged school systems. A bridging programme was created for this purpose. This paper describes and explains the English language course that is part of this bridging programme. The English course aims at addressing the low language proficiency as well as the immediate communicative needs of the target group, viz academic literacy. English is the chosen medium of instruction of this student group and for all of them English is their second or third language. The paper outlines the course objectives and components, explains the rationale behind the components, and provides specific practical information about implementation. The reading component of the course includes intensive reading, extensive reading (with graded readers), and vocabulary development. The writing component works towards the expository essay via developing students' sentence control, clarity of expression, organisation, and awareness of audience. This article is adapted from a paper read at the 29th Annual SAALT Conference on 4–6 July 2001.

(Journal for Language Teaching: 2002 36(3-4): 220-232)