Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Marie's Words (picture vocabulary cards)

One might ask why I'm deviating from the usual math postings in order to do a review of vocabulary cards. So here it is in a nutshell:

1. Before my math education days, I was an English Education major. Yes, I used to assign vocabulary lists to hapless* youth.
2. Despite my youthful vigor, I am the proud parent of two assiduous* children who have taken the SAT test...and three more who will take it in the future. (How can I be that old?) I've heard a lot of talk about the importance of vocabulary.
3. As a high school student and future English major, I bemoaned* the fact that I personally did better on the math portion of the SAT than on the reading portion.
4. I saw Marie's Words in the Timberdoodle Catalog and was intrigued. They sent me a free review copy. I am not paid for this review and I can say whatever I please. (Scary, but true.) If you're interested in learning more about the company that trusts me to say whatever crazy thing pops into my head anything, you can learn more about Timberdoodle on Facebook.

Marie's Words consist of 550 vocabulary word cards depicted by a drawing on one side and the definition, a sentence, synonyms and antonyms on the other side. 

Although we are on summer hiatus*, I'm very aware of the importance of keeping my 9-year-old son busy. So as not to become indolent.* (Anyone else have a 9-year-old who needs to be busy?) Each week, I put ten words on a ring and challenge him to learn them by Friday. He usually memorizes them on Monday. Although I don't know if they'll continue to stick in his brain, so far, so good; he seems to be recalling words from past weeks with ease.

What I like:

  • Portability - the cards come with a pre-punched hole, so I can easily add and subtract them from my own ring. 
  • Time - quick, easy, can do it anywhere.
  • Illustrations - the pictures make even difficult words accessible to many ages and abilities.
  • Bang for the Buck - at 550 words, it's going to take us more than a year to get through the box. And ten cards a week is nothing to sniff at. 
  • Another Tool - while I wouldn't want to limit vocabulary learning to cards, this is certainly one tool to add to the toolbox. 

Things That Made Me Pause:

  • Some Illustrations - while we have not gotten through the entire box, I have run across a few cards in which I had a hard time connecting the illustration to the vocabulary word. This has been less an issue for my son than it has for me. Perhaps I'm old and set in my vocabularific ways.
  • A Few Words - sometimes the word on the illustration is altered for the purpose of making it easier to remember and understand. For example, the card for "abhor" includes a small letter "c" and "e" on the word on the illustrated side of the card:

ab c hor e

The sentence on the back reads, "Josh abhors his chores so much that he taught his dog to do them."

That makes me a tad nervous. I'm afraid that a few kids could decide that the word is actually "abchore." Hopefully, I'm wrong. Irregardless, this only affects a handful of the cards in the box.

In summary:

I have an affinity* for the cards. And will use them with my children. While I think that the best way to enrich vocabulary is to read widely and often, I did that as a teen and didn't ace the SAT. This is another tool to add to the learning toolbox.

Please Note: no vocabulary cards were harmed in the writing of this post. But if you see an (*) next to a word, it means I borrowed the word from Marie in an effort to show my grandiloquence*.

As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Marie's Words in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

1 comment:

  1. I do not have a 9 year old, but I do have a 10 year old that I think would benefit from those vocabulary word cards :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these!

    homeschooling means freedom – freedom to choose what, when, and how your children learn


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