When my son was younger he, like many children, had big dreams of being a famous detective. He even had a ‘detective agency’ with his sister and several friends for a couple of years. They searched for a missing dog and always hoped they would get a big case! At age 12 he has outgrown that career goal, but I knew he would still really enjoy this review that let him think like a detective while learning new vocabulary words. We worked through Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary by The Critical Thinking Co.™ together as a way to increase both children’s vocabulary.
Each lesson is set up as a mystery that you have to solve and includes 18-25 new vocabulary words. In order to solve the mystery you have to understand that new vocabulary words that are used the story. You are given a paragraph or two of background information that includes some of the vocabulary words and then below that you have pictures and statements from four different suspects.
For our family I would read that case and stop whenever we came to a new vocabulary word. My two oldest children (10 years and 12 years) took turns looking up the words in their dictionaries. Once I finished the case information we talked about it to make sure that they understood both the new words and the case itself. Then we proceeded through each suspect in a similar manner. Once we had read through the statements for all four suspects we would go through and decide who we could eliminate based on the information provided. Then they would tell me who they thought was guilty and I had them explain why. In general they agreed but once they did not and we had a discussion about why each one thought their answer was correct. In addition to being a vocabulary lesson it was an opportunity for critical thinking and being sure they were paying attention to details.
After each case there was a review page of sentences with blanks for a missing vocabulary word and a word bank of the word choices. I had the children work on this independently as a review after we had completed the case together.
The cases typically took us about 30 minutes to complete which was great because we could easily finish a case during our morning time a couple of days a week. As they got back into practice with using the dictionaries (a skill I had been neglecting) it went a little faster than in the beginning.
Each sentence in the case was numbered and the back of the book included an answer key with an explanation. The explanation used the sentence numbers to help the students find where the clues were and better understand the answers that were given if there were any questions or confusion.
Overall, we really enjoyed this book and I intend to continue using their products once or twice a week during our morning basket time. I think that it would have been too difficult for my 10 year old by herself but she is at the very youngest end of the recommended age range. However, by working through it together I think she benefited from the program. The children both enjoyed it and were excited to do another lesson which has honestly never happened for us with a vocabulary program before. If you are looking for something to strengthen your child’s vocabulary or critical thinking I suggest checking out Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary or one of the other products by The Critical Thinking Co.™ . Click below to read reviews for this and other The Critical Thinking Co.™ products by our other Crew members.
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