Review: Language Smarts™ Level E from The Critical Thinking Co.™

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Grammar and all of the rules of writing seem to be a tricky thing to grasp for my boys.  I don’t understand why.  I’ve drilled some of these concepts like tomorrow isn’t coming unless they get it.  Nope! A week later I’m still hollering at them to make sure they use upper case letters and periods.  Go figure.  When we got the chance to review Language Smarts™ Level E Grade: 4 from The Critical Thinking Co.™ I was rather excited! (My 9 year old son might not have been ha!) I figured this might the ticket to help fill in some gaps I’ve noticed we are missing.

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Language Smarts starts with Level A, for kindergartners, and has a stand alone book for each grade level through 4th grade.  Language Smarts™ Level E is geared for fourth grade and contains about 400 full color pages.  It is a full curriculum intended to teach reading, writing, grammar, and punctuation.  Also included are critical thinking skills and vocabulary.

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This program is about as straight forward as you can get.  The lessons are easy to follow with all of the information and directions provided right on the page.  NO PREP WORK FOR MOM! It is so easy that there isn’t a need for an extra teacher’s book.  If you need the answers you’ll find them in the back of the book.

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Activities are fun and include lots of puzzles like word-searches and word jumbles or fill-in-the-blank type activities.  There is plenty of color and interest on the page to hold most children’s attention.

The book begins with lessons on syllables and moves into word parts like prefixes, suffixes, and roots.  Next you’ll learn about synonyms, antonyms, anagrams, analogies, palindromes, and jumbles… many concepts I myself could brush up on.  There is also spelling and proofreading, a unit on reference materials, using a dictionary and a thesaurus and of course an encyclopedia.  Near the end you’ll cover things like nouns, verbs and all of the like. Before you are finished there will even be lessons on publishing.

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This book could be fantastic all on its own.  Simply start at the beginning and work your way through. To finish it in a typical school year you’d want to cover about two pages per day.  You child will come out with a vast knowledge of reading/writing/grammar. Or use it to supplement other course work.  Should your child need a little extra practice in some area you can just look up the topic in Language Smarts E and assign the pages.

How We Used It

This book has taken up permanent residence in our daily curriculum line up.  We skipped the section on syllables and jumped right in on word parts and we’ve been moving through it ever since, about 2 pages 3-4 days a week.  My 4th grades is able to mostly complete the pages on his own 15 or so minutes.  I check the work after.  Easy Peasy! He enjoys the work as he finds it makes sense and expectations are clear.  He is learning new material yet he isn’t strained to complete the work.

This is a simple and comprehensive program.  If you want something easy on you and your child than this program could be a very good choice.

I want to mention something else about the company. The Critical Thinking Co.™ now hows a range of software programs for the preschool level.  I wasn’t eligible to review these since I don’t have a child in that age range at the moment but other members of the Review Crew did.  They now offer:

These programs are designed to help you teacher your preschooler the full range of letter sounds and early phonics.  If you have a preschooler you really should check this out.

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