Volunteer teachers at each of the county’s middle schools will begin the preparation for the formation of their school’s bridge teams. This will be the fifth year that Reno Youth Bridge and the WCSD have worked in partnership to teach the game of bridge to students in preparation for their interscholastic competition at American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) sanctioned tournaments in the Spring semester.
Why learn Bridge? Bridge is a trick taking game using an ordinary deck of 52 cards dealt evenly among four players made up of two partnerships. Bridge is a critical thinking game that involves the practical application of basic math, memory and the communication of information using only 15 words, numbers or phrases which together can form only 35 statements describing the strength of one’s hand. In addition to the values of enhanced academics, the game helps students learn inferential analysis, something that cannot be taught in a classroom.
In a recent three-year study by Dr. Christopher Shaw of Carlinville, Ill., six groups of fifth graders with similar academic ability were examined. One group learned to play bridge as part of its math instruction but the others did not. All the students took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITSB) over the next three years. While performance on the ITSB increases as students get older, what Shaw discovered was that those who learned and played bridge had a 15 to 40 percent greater increase in their ITSB scores than their non-playing classmates. It was the discovery of this study that motivated several members of the Reno Unit of the ACBL to form Reno Youth Bridge, Inc., a nonprofit company, and become responsible for the organization and funding of the teaching of Bridge to WCSD Students.
Students who participate in after-school activity classes learning and playing bridge have the opportunity to earn an achievement award of a $1000 college scholarship or gift certificates of various amounts up to $500 redeemable at Reno-Sparks merchants or restaurants.
For parents and families wishing to learn more about how they can become involved in bridge, information is available from their student’s middle school online at www.renoyouthbridge.org.