Friday, October 1, 2010

Review of Vocabulary Cartoons

The latest item we were asked to review as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew was a book called Vocabulary Cartoons, Elementary Edition. Vocabulary Cartoons is based on mnemonics:

Vocabulary Cartoons works on the principle of mnemonics. A mnemonic is a device that helps you remember something by associating what you are trying to remember with something you already know. A mnemonic device could be in many different forms like; rhymes, songs, pictures to name a few. For example, "Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred ninety-two" is a classic mnemonic rhyme which helps you remember when Columbus discovered America.

Following the mnemonic principle of association, Vocabulary Cartoons link together an auditory (rhyming) word association and a visual association in the form of a humorous cartoon. These powerful mnemonics help students retain the meanings of words longer and with less effort than trying to memorize definitions straight out of a dictionary.

Let me first say that I never would’ve thought that vocabulary could be fun. From the moment we started using this text, my kids couldn’t wait to do their next lesson!

The first word we learned was abduct. The cartoon shows a picture of a bandit running off with a duck. Because abduct sounds similar to duck, student will hear the word and recall the image thus allowing them to remember the definition. This process works amazingly well! Each day, we read the word, definition, and sample sentences and studied the cartoon image. We didn’t go back and review it later. But, any time I ask my kids what abduct means, they immediately yell out “kidnap – like when the bandit stole the ducks!”

My children are 6 and 8 and both of them are able to recall the definition of any words we have studied so far. Better yet, when they see that it’s time to use the book, they are genuinely excited.

The elementary level book is for grades 3-6 and includes 210 words. The complete word list can be viewed here along with sample pages. It is available for purchase for $12.95 and is well worth it!

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