When I found out that I would be able to review homeschool products this year with The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was excited about trying new ways of teaching old subjects. Recently, we found a way to study vocabulary that is a whole lot more fun than the workbooks we've used for the past umpteen years.
Vocabulary Cartoons by New Monic Books, Inc. teaches vocabulary words with mnemonic devices. These memory triggers use both rhyming words and visual pictures to help you remember the definition. Even better, the pictures are funny enough to stick in your memory. For instance, one of Brennan's favorite entries is the one where the new word encroach is linked to the word roach and shown with a picture of a man biting into a huge sandwich that has a roach crawling on top of it (the roaches encroached on the plate of food).
This paperback book retails for $12.95 and contains 210 word cartoons, divided into 21 lessons. At the end of each lesson is a brief review page with matching words and fill-in-the-blank sentences. The publisher suggests an age range of third through sixth grade, but I found words that I'm not sure my seventh grader could define. Some of the words covered in this level are crevice, salient, pacify, scowl, hoax, guerilla, collapse, rue, genteel, and neophyte. A complete word list is available here.
Each word is covered on a single page. The general format has the word, dictionary pronunciation, part of speech, and definition listed at the top of the page. It also includes a "sounds like" entry which helps you remember the definition. The cartoon picture takes up the majority of the page with a caption that contains both the word and the sounds like memory device. Each entry also contains three additional sentences to show how the word would commonly be used.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll include one of the sample cartoons. More samples from The Vocabulary Cartoons book can be found here.
Another one of Brennan's favorite cartoons was the one for the word ruthless. The caption was "Toothless Captain Gums was a RUTHLESS pirate." One of the additional sentences was, "Ruthless Coach Ashton made his players run fifty laps around the field."
We will definitely continue using the Vocabulary Cartoons book. My biggest disappointment is that there is only one volume available for elementary grades. We will likely go back to our old no-frills vocabulary workbook and use the cartoon lessons a few at a time when we need a fun break. Hopefully, we will be able to save some of the fun lessons for years to come.
You can see other reviews on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew blog. Some of my fellow crew members reviewed the upper grade version of this product, SAT Word Power Cartoons, a few weeks ago, and you can find their reviews here.