Any thoughts on the Break Through! Bible (or the workbooks that go with the series) from St. Mary’s press from those who are familiar with it or the work of St. Mary’s press?
We bought these bibles for our upper grades for CCD, they are easier to read than adult bibles.
Some of the “extra” stuff in them-- the sidebars and “did you know” type stuff-- is questionable and I make sure I read it first and most of the time I don’t draw attention to it and the kids don’t really notice it.
I use it strictly for reading bible passages in the context of my lessons-- I am doing the T3 bible study from Great Adventures.
It’s about all that’s out there for younger readers.
I am not familiar with a workbook companion for this bible, didn’t know there was one.
we received a donation of 20 of the bibles (intended for middle school, Good News Translation, with Deuterocanonicals, imprimatur, with sidebars added by editors at St Mary’s Press). the Catholic Youth Bible from the same publisher comes in both an NAB and NRSV version, also with sidebars by the editors. the sidebars contain more info on the bible personages, historical and cultural background of key events and so forth, although there are a few “culturally sensitive” editorial comments as well which may be problematic.
they both come with study guides, workbooks, music CDs, lesson plans etc. the BTB has a study guide for OT which would take 2 yrs in CCD to cover, and a NT guide we are using now, 1 year of weekly CCD classes Sept-May. As I say these were donated so I have accepted.
the study guides are quite good, comparable to and in more depth than the standard 6th grade (OT) and 7th grade (NT) texts from the RE publishers approved here in the diocese.
St. Mary’s Press also has a very comprehensive YM program–HS CCD-Conf curriculum for grades 7-12. My problems with that are deeper, specifically the youth Catechism version, instruction on moral issues, or pastoral than accurate.
the catechists who are using the BTB bibles and workbooks teach a bible class for 4th-6th graders who have already made first communion, in the 1st session of CCD, as an alternative to the standard grade level textbook program offered at the 2nd CCD session. it is necessary to combine classes due to shortage of classrooms and teachers. what began as an emergency creative solution has become a wildly successful, and popular program. Our children here in middle school are almost always challenged by friends and public school classmates who participate in bible programs of other faiths, and without a bood bible background are lost in “peer apologetics”.
these catechists have very good college level theology and scripture background, know how to recognize and compensate for occassional “nuanced” footnotes and study materials, and are giving our children a very solid catechesis on Catholic doctrine and practice and formal bible study at the same time, with the help of the very well designed BTB study guides. Also reading levels here by and large are below national standards and the GNT actually is a better bible for middle school.
by Jr High (grades 7-8) they are ready for the NAB and the actual lectionary, they get their own NAB student bibles, which are used throughout the program, along with the Teen Catechism from OSV, and for HS, the Dicache RE series.
yes we do cover some ground twice, because more than half the students coming for HS have not participated in CCD since 1st communion so we have a 2-tier program to catch them up.
bottom line, I can recommend using the Breakthru Bible and workbooks for middle grades 4-6 with the same caveat that applies to all RE materials–knowledgeable, well-trained, orthodox practicing Catholic catechists.