Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Monic Vocabulary Cartoons

PhotobucketWords~  We love words in our household! I have always been a fan of looking up words in the dictionary, and I am hoping that this love of words and meanings (and correct usage) is passed down to my children as well. To that end, I was delighted to be one of the crew members chosen to review Vocabulary Cartoons: Elementary Edition (Recommended for grades 3-6, $12.95) from the good folk at (You can read some other TOS Crew members' recent reviews of Vocabulary Cartoons SAT Word Power, Book 1 here)

So~ What are Vocabulary Cartoons and why are they different from other vocabulary books? I don't know if you remember or have read my reviews on the Little Man in the Map, or Times Tales, but those products make use of mnemonic devices (which can be phrases, rhymes, pictures or any combination of the above designed to assist or "Bring to mind" a fact or piece of information) to teach geography and Math. Vocabulary Cartoons also uses mnemonic devices, utilizing cartoon pictures, similar sounding words, rhymes, and sentences to introduce 210 vocabulary words to elementary-aged children in 21 lessons. These lessons are complete with matching and fill-in-the-blank quizzes at the end of each lesson. This is a very useful tactic, especially for children who are audio/visual learners, although it can be fun and effective for those who have a more "Traditional" style of learning as well.

Because my kids are VERY prolific readers, I haven't been very regimented about "Vocabulary" per se. Here are the pros that our family found while using this book for the past few weeks
  • Vocabulary Cartoons is just the right speed for making sure that we touch on vocabulary, without making it a "Chore"
  • It provides a fun variation from dry word lists and definitions~ Which means it gets done! :) 
  • Rhyming is always a hit in our household
  • The quizzes fit in quite nicely with our spelling tests at the end of the week
Things that we were less impressed with (The "Cons"):
  • A few words that I didn't feel were entirely age-appropriate (guerrillas, smitten, bilk, impale, sleazy ~ These just don't seem like words I really want my 3rd-6th grader using...I'm not fond of their connotations). These ARE really a SMALL percentage of the lists (You can download a pdf of the entire word list here if you'd like to check it out yourself).
  • One lesson contains a large number of "Ghoulish" illustrations (Frankenstein, Vampires, Ghosts, Monsters).... I'm skipping that one... not our cup o'tea
Because there is an occasional word or picture I'd prefer to omit, I will be using this a little more judiciously. This makes me a little sad, because I really do like the format. If you'd like a glimpse of what these look like, you can download a sample with the above cartoons as well as 8 more here. Please keep in mind that the book also uses each word in 3 different sentences below the cartoon.

All in all, I AM pleased with Vocabulary Cartoons, and think that they may be useful for the kiddos that aren't "list memorizers". :) I hope that this review is useful to you as you choose where to spend your homeschool budget. (For any local friends~ If you'd like to see this in person, zap me an email, and I'll bring it to a meeting~ For everyone~ If you'd like to read a few more opinions, you may do so at the TOS Crew blog)


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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