Friday, September 17, 2010

Review: New Monic Books-Vocabulary Cartoons

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Vocabulary: One of my favorite subjects!

As every writer (and those with the gift of gab!) knows, owning an expansive vocabulary is a tremendous asset. But for some, memorizing boring lists of vocabulary words just doesn’t work. These folks are usually quite visually oriented and require a little “extra oomph!” to get the job done.

Enter “Vocabulary Cartoons-SAT Word Power” from New Monic Books. Now, for those of you who may not know, a mnemonic is, “a device that helps you remember something by associating what you are trying to remember with something you already know.” ~ Quote: Vocabulary Cartoons introduction page. With that said, Vocabulary Cartoons employs the use of cute black & white cartoons, linking words and simple rhymes to help make learning new words a snap!

In fact, according to independent test results, “Students with Vocabulary Cartoons learned 72% more words than students with traditional rote memory study materials and had 90% retention.” ~ Quote: Vocabulary Cartoons.com. {Not too shabby, eh?}

Details, Details:

The book is broken down into 29, ten-word sections. Each section concludes with a short review featuring word match-ups and fill-in-the-blanks.  While I personally didn’t find the words difficult,  I found myself giggling at more than a few of the cartoons/mnemonics. My personal favorite was the one featured on the front cover:

Truculent (TRUH kyoo lunt) adj. Inclined toward conflict; eager to fight. Sounds like TRUCK YOU LENT. “The truck you lent Uncle Frank made him TRUCULENT.”  (Then of course, there’s a drawing of a very angry Uncle Frank stranded on the road, with his balled fists waving high…Ha ha ha ha!) Too funny. :o)

I used this book with my oldest daughter, Sierra (14) as part of her Language Arts assignments. I had her complete one section per day, including the review questions. While she’s developed a pretty decent battery of words over the years, she was surprised to discover one word she didn’t yet know: Aggrandize. “Ladies acquire GRAND EYES with mascara and false eyelashes to AGGRANDIZE their eyes.”  (Maybelline cosmetics, eat your heart out! Hee hee!)

Our Opinion:

After using this book for the past few weeks, I found myself liking it more and more. While Sierra didn’t find the words supremely challenging, she felt it would be a good tool for visual learners (like say, her brother, Ethan for example).

And although the book is designed for 7th-12th grade students, I also feel it would provide upper elementary students with a fun, unique challenge as well.

The Nitty Gritty:

Vocabulary Cartoons-SAT Word Power contains 347 pages and 290 “must-know-for-the-SAT” words. It’s available for $12.95 through their website, VocabularyCartoons.com. You can view a free sample here. 

Overall, I’d have to say that I’m very impressed with both the quality and usability of Vocabulary Cartoons. It’s charming, humorous, simple to use, and effective. I would highly recommend it to any and all students, college bound or otherwise. :o)

*Disclosure: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was provided and the thoughts/views expressed are my own.*

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