Small People

Small People

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Critical Thinking Co. Review

With college looming just around the corner for the twins, preparing them for the SAT is at the forefront of my mind. One of the most daunting aspects for them is the vocabulary section. I was extremely excited when we were given the opportunity to review Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 from The Critical Thinking Co.

For this review, we received Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 - a digital pdf download with 209 pages. This book contains 20 lessons, each with a list of 9 words, and 5 review lessons. An answer key for the activities is also included in the book.

We decided to have Brailey work on the activities for one word list each week. For Monday morning, I would print off all of the activities for that lesson to put in her folder to complete. Each lesson, except for the review lessons, has the same format, which makes it easy for us to establish a plan to cover all of the activities during the week.

The first page of each lesson is the word list with each list having a theme; for example, Week 3's list is "Volatile Verbs." The word list includes the 9 words with a pronunciation, other word forms, definition, and at least one sample sentence for each. Brailey and I would go over the word list on Monday, discussing each word and its definition. Some words she was already familiar with so she would explain the word and how to use it in context. For words she was unfamiliar with, I would explain the word and use it in a context that would help her understand it better. This was not only a great exercise for her, but also for me; some of these words I wasn't familiar with.

There are 6 different exercises with each lesson.
  • Exercise A has several fill-in-the-blank sentences accompanied by four synonyms for the missing words. Brailey had to choose the correct word from a word bank that contained list words as well as some of the other word forms of the list words.
  • Exercise B is similar to Exercise A, in that it has her filling in a sentence with a word from a word bank although there are no synonyms to give help.
  • Exercise C also has filling in blanks from a word bank, but this time it's within the context of a story. At the end of Exercise C is a box with extra information to go along with the story. For the story about direct and indirect characterization for Word List 2, there are definitions of direct and indirect characterization. For the story about puns for Word List 4, there are some culinary puns.
  • Exercise D has her unscrambling a word that is a synonym for an underlined word in the given sentence.
  • Exercise E involves choosing a word, idiom, or phrase that defines a given word. Because the words are standing alone without context, this one really challenges her to know the meanings for the words.
  • My favorite part of each lesson is Exercise F. Here she is asked to complete a sentence. The first part of the sentence is given to her containing one of the words from that week's list. She has to finish the sentence in a way that shows that she understands the meaning of the list word. For example, she was given "The tsunami decimated" and completed it with "the village, leaving the entire place in shambles."

After every four word lists is a review lesson covering the words from those lists. Those lessons only have 3 activities - a crossword puzzle, a multiple choice activity, and an activity choosing the best word for an article given the title of the article.

Brailey's thoughts:
This is an excellent program. The majority of the words I had never heard of before, which made it all the more interesting to learn what they meant. With all of the different activities, I learned how to use the words in many different ways. This will definitely help me on the SAT. My favorite exercise was Exercise C because they give you the context and you have to find the word that goes within the context of the story.

The Critical Thinking Co. has many other books for a variety of age levels that encourage building thinking skills, including Pattern Explorer Beginning, Elementary Math Games, Critical Thinking Detective - Vocabulary Book 2, Dare to Compare: Math Level 2, Middle School Math Games, Building Writing Skills - Essential Tips & Techniques, and Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 2.

You can get some (or all) of these and other books with free shipping + 15% off any size order. Simply use the code TOSCREW19 between now and December 31, 2019.

You can find out more about The Critical Thinking Co. on social media:

Are you interested in what other reviewers have to say about The Critical Thinking Co.? Check out more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

Critical Thinking, Math, Vocabulary & Writing Skills {The Critical Thinking Co. Reviews}

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