I was talking to my husband the other day discussing our upcoming trip and mentioned that I needed to finish the review for Vocabulary Cartoons before we left. My daughter pipes up in the background and says “Tell them I love it, Mom!” So, there you go! Endorsement from a 5th grader! I think she especially liked dropping “big words” when she was talking to her brothers and getting a “What?!” response from them. Our children’s rooms are across from each other, so lately in the evenings (after they are supposed to be sleeping) we have heard her yelling out the vocab words and then the boys (9 and 6) yelling back “What does it mean?!” followed by“Don’t Flounder, keep swimming!” or “Ack…I was abducted by ducks”. Then followed by a lot of giggles. Silly cartoons coupled with funny phrases has made learning vocabulary words quite painless here!
Vocabulary Cartoons is non-consumable, priced at $12.95 and meant for 3rd-6th grades. It consists of 210 vocabulary words that are accompanied by a rhyming mnemonic and a visual mnemonic. These help the children know how to pronounce a word as well as a silly picture depicting the meaning. For instance, the word “Obsolete” gives the pronunciation, definition and part of speech along with a sound alike word, “Fleet.” There is a picture of a cruise ship with several Viking ships surrounding it. Underneath the picture is the phrase “The Norwegian Viking FLEET is OBSOLETE.”
The words are divided into groups of 10 words followed by a review. The review consists of matching a word to the definition and then a fill-in-the-blank section, using the words in sentences. My daughter would read through a group for a couple of days and then do the review for that section. There is an answer key in the back of the book for the review questions as well as an index of all words. I used the index as a way to give my daughter a quiz on words learned. I would call out random words from the index and she would then answer with the definition. She rarely missed one in the weeks that we were reviewing and as soon as she saw the picture again, she immediately remembered what the word meant.
She reads well and often, but this has been a good (and painless) way of learning more vocabulary words and discovering what she already knows. If I were required to do any sort of testing, I would especially appreciate this way of brushing up on vocabulary skills. I loved that it was something that she could do on her own until the review. We would do that orally. She thought it was fun and didn’t even think of it as work.
There were about 6 words out of 210 that I wish the publishers had reconsidered the sound alike words or the cartoon depicting the sentence. Particularly “adjacent”, “shoddy” and “transpire”. We are pretty careful about what kind of movies our children watch and a couple of these referenced characters that my daughter didn’t recognize and showed cartoons of vampires, Frankenstein and Jason making the mnemonic meaningless to her. If you have sensitive children or are keeping them from such things I would just cover those pages up, but I did want to give a word of warning. I don’t think it ruins the usefulness of the book or lessens the value either. The rest of them are pretty funny or cute and really do illustrate the meaning of words quite well. My favorite was “The GAPING mouth of an APE devoured the grapes.” for the word “Gape”. I loves gorillas and this picture is pretty funny!
New Monic Books also carries SAT Word Power and Picture Spelling for Young Writers.
Check out what my other Crewmates are saying about Vocabulary Cartoons at the TOS Review Crew Blog!
**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.