Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review: Vocabulary Cartoons by New Monic

I first became aware of the Vocabulary Cartoons resources this spring at my local homeschool convention (Don't cha just *love* the Rainbow Resources booth?). I was looking for something new for vocabulary. While last year's workbook program was fine for Ben, I was looking for something that we *all* could do together.

And, who doesn't like a good cartoon?

The basics.  For this review, I received a copy of New Monic's elementary edition.  This book retails for $12.95, and online retailers often sell it at a discount.  You can view New Monic's website and all their vocabulary building resources (as well as some teaching tips) here.  The publish a number of books for different grade levels.

Rather than me explain how mnemonics work, I quote from the company's website:
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.

Here's a sample of an entry in the book:

Each entry also includes several sample sentences using the target word.  A review is offered after every to words which allows you to match the word to its definition as well as a fill-in-the-blank sentence completion exercise.

Our experience.  As I mentioned, I was looking for something that was not  a vocabulary workbook for this year.  My second grader is not a strong reader (yet), and I knew that a workbook had the potential to really frustrate him.  Vocabulary Cartoons is a perfect alternative and really just what we need.  I started using this with my 2nd grader a few weeks ago.  He loves the cartoons!   We went through several of the words, laughed at the pictures, talked about the words and how they might be used in The Real World (one word, guerrilla, began a short history discussion). A few days, later I asked my son about the words, and he still remembered their meaning.  Wow!

As I mentioned above, the website offers many, many teaching suggestions to engage students in the new meanings and uses of the words.  I hadn't turned to their website until I went to write this review, but some of them  could easily be adapted for homeschool use.  In my family, my plan is to go over several words a week and make them target words that we have to somehow incorporate into our family conversations.  I am not above offering a candy reward for those who successfully complete their mission.  Just sayin'.

Vocabulary Cartoons is a fun way to incorporate exposure to advanced vocabulary in a novel way.  Homeschoolers are such a creative lot, and I'm sure there are a million ways that this book can be used.  I'm looking forward to reading some of the other reviews from Crew members so I can glean some other ideas for using New Monics resouces in my homeschool.  Click here and read some with me!

FCC statement: I received a free copy of this resource in exchange for my honest opinions about this resources. No other compensation was received.

1 comment:

Marie said...

I tagged you in a meme post today :-)