VocabCafe from College Prep Genius has come up with a way to make learning SAT level vocabulary painless and entertaining. Learning your vocabulary can be as simple as reading a book. Each full length chapter books features 300 vocabulary words chosen to encourage the development of language skills.
Vocabulary words are sprinkled throughout the book. Each word is printed in bold type to alert you to the fact it is a vocabulary word. Then on the bottom of the page, that word is printed just like a dictionary entry. The vocabulary word, a pronunciation key, part of speech, and definition. No stopping the flow of reading to look up an unfamiliar word in the dictionary. For review, at the end of each chapter is a word review and a complete index of words is included in the back.
There are four titles in the VocabCafe series. I.M. for Murder, Planet Exile, and The $ummer of $aint Nick are written by Josh Burk. Operation High School is written by Judah Burk. The books are aimed for a high school age range, although some middle schoolers may enjoy them. The author states that although the books have no occult, sexual themes, violence etc. parents may want to read the books first to determine appropriateness for their families.
The books are available from College Prep Genius. Each book is available for $12.95 or the entire four book set is $38.85.
I had Sarah, who is 14, read these for the review. I read one of the books completely and skimmed the others to see how they worked. Sarah enjoyed learning vocabulary in this manner. She said she really liked having the definitions on the same page as the word. She says she hates to stop reading to look up a word, so having them defined immediately was a plus. She also said learning vocabulary through a story instead of just a list of words made more sense to her.
I enjoyed the book I read, but at times it felt a little “clunky”. Sometimes, trying to fit that many upper level vocabulary words in made the story line slightly cumbersome. Also, in the Planet Exile book, I was a bit taken aback when the same word was used twice in the same paragraph. This was done to show the two meanings of the word, but it was awkward for me.
My father and brother-in-law looked at these books with me as well. My dad was a teacher for 20 years and my brother-in-law is attending college in his “spare” time. They were both impressed by the idea of learning vocabulary though a story instead of just memorizing word lists and definitions.
I was not the only one of my Crew Mates to review VocabCafe books. Other Crew Mates reviewed a SAT Prep Course also available from College Prep Genius. Visit the Crew blog to read the reviews for both these products.
As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received four VocabCafe books for free from College Prep Genius, in exchange for my honest review of their product.