Sunday, April 9, 2017

Word Root 4 - The Critical Thinking Company

The Critical Thinking Company's Word Root Level 4 teaches vocabulary by first dissecting the words and defining each part - the root, prefix and suffix. Once the student learns these parts of the words, this knowledge is used to decode unfamiliar words.  There is a pre-test included to get you started and a post-test to use once the text is completed to see how much has been retained.

Students then attempt to master new words through the following lessons: matching words with their definitions, filling in a sentence with the correct word, writing the definitions of words, and writing complete sentences for each word. There are also plenty of review lessons included.  

The program is thorough, but for KingMan he felt something was missing.  It was a bit confusing for him and too much was left out for him to determine the correct answer.  For example, if he determined the meaning of a word incorrectly, then all of the subsequent work would be incorrect as well.  Maybe this was intended as a part of the "critical thinking" process.  But it frustrated KingMan.  In some ways, the lessons assume some knowledge of Latin, which KingMan did not have.  Another frustrating aspect was similarity of meaning.  If a prefix or suffix had similar meanings, how was he to determine which to use?  

For example, KingMan deduced that dogma meant one thing in Word Roots, but when he went to the definition was different.  For example, in Word Roots dog/dox is defined as "opinion, praise" and ma as "something done."  So when KingMan wrote his sentence, "My dogma about Oklahoma City Thunder has always been overpowering."  He was using "praise and opinion" in the right way.  But when we looked up the definition for the word on it said, "a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true."  Kingman's response to me was, "how can it be an opinion and incontrovertibly true?" I  think some additional discussion about the roots would have been helpful in determining proper usage.

Again, this may be a part of the "critical thinking" aspect of the program. If your child enjoys sleuth work, he may enjoy Word Roots.  On the other hand, if you have a straightforward learner, who prefers more explanation, this may not work.

Word Roots is a part of Timberdoodle's 10th Grade Curriculum Kit.

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