The Critical Thinking Co. products have been a staple in our homeschool for the past three years. Once I discovered their workbooks, I’ve used them to help increase Bear’s language skills. Today we’ll be sharing our thoughts on Critical Thinking Detective – Vocabulary Book 2 (Grades 5-12+).
Critical Thinking Detective vocabulary books feature vocabulary filled mysteries featuring SAT and ACT words. The words are obtained from study lists and included in the facts of each case with various synonyms. Each book includes 12 cases with a detailed account of the events and suspects. The suspects’ photos are also provided next to their name and occasionally paired with an eyewitness account or personal quote. As your child works through the case, fifteen of the words might stand out to them. That’s when they will need paper, a pen or pencil, and the dictionary. They will use these to identify the words and use that new information to bring light to hidden clues. These mentions may appear minor; however, a definition search may reveal otherwise.
On the second page for each case, you’ll find a fill in the blank activity. For this page, the vocabulary words are reviewed by placing each in a sentence. Some sentences offer two options and leave the final decision up to your child. The activity is helpful for reviewing the definition, synonyms, and antonyms for each week’s list. These two exercises offer an opportunity to practice assessing information, along with observation, evaluation, inductive thinking skills.
This workbook is able to flow at your own pace but after some tweaking, I found a schedule that worked for us. Initially, Bear completed one case every two weeks. I made sure Bear kept a vocabulary notebook, pen, and dictionary next to him. First, he would read through the case file and would circle any unrecognizable words. As he read that word, Bear would look up the definition, then write it in his notebook. I also had him note any synonyms and antonyms just in case. On the next day, he would reread the case, review the 15 vocabulary words, and solve the case. The subsequent week he would complete the sentence activity on one day and make corrections the next. Once he became comfortable with this we eventually adjusted to one case each week.
Bear, like myself, enjoys being a wordsmith so this book was definitely one of his favorites. He liked solving the mysteries, learning new words, and using them during the week. I also learned quite a bit of new vocabulary while going through the book with him. I suggest this for grades 6th and up, or 4th and 5th graders that are strong readers.
I also suggest you make time to navigate through The Critical Thinking Co. website. There you’ll find several FREE games, fun quizzes, and even access to some FREE downloads. They also offer a Free Online Playroom with various games for preschool through 12th grade. Bear actually spent just as much time on the website as he did on the vocabulary assignments.
I found Critical Thinking Detective – Vocabulary Book 2 (Grades 5-12+) to be a good addition to our homeschool routine. Every mystery offers a unique way to review reading comprehension, practice research, and enhance daily vocabulary. Weekly use of The Critical Thinking Co. products also allows for critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and observation skills to develop at an age-appropriate pace.
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