I love workbooks. Yes, I am one of those moms who make her kids do worksheets. On weekends, they do at least two double-sided pages a day. That’s not much. They easily finish in under 10 minutes. If they want to earn extra computer or TV time, they do extra worksheets.
In my search for workbooks, I came across the Flash Kids series. They have a whole host of workbooks to choose from. I will talk about the Reading Comprehension ones first.
I had originally gotten the Reading Comprehension 2 for Josh when he was in Year 2, but soon realized that they were a bit too easy for him. Zoë, at the time 4 and not in Year 1 yet, was interested in them. I got Josh to do Reading Comprehension 3 while I worked with Zoë on Reading Comprehension 2. She would read the words she could read by herself and I would help her with the words that she didn’t know. Some passages she could do all by herself; some passages I would read for her. I was not too fussed that over the reading part. What was important for me was how much of what she/we read she was able to comprehend. Within a couple of months, we had finished the entire Reading Comprehension 2.
The exercises after each of the passages/stories vary. Some would be open-ended questions, others would be multiple-choice questions. There were some that would require her to re-tell the story in the correct sequence. She would do simple crosswords for some. She had to match cause-and-effect statements. There were True/False and fill-in-the-blanks drills.
As the levels go up, the stories and passages get more challenging –longer, more advanced vocabulary, trickier questions. For example, in Reading Comprehension 4, you get topics like Where Do Diamonds Come From?, Leonardo da Vinci, Polar Opposites, etc. In Reading Comprehension 5, you are asked to summaries, differentiate facts from opinions, give clues to support the conclusion in a story, identify settings/conflicts/resolutions/themes, write your own story.
There are answer keys at the back of each book, as well as a “You are a reading champion!” page. I usually staple or tape the pages of the answer keys together (haha!).
What I love about this series:
- The passages and stories are interesting, filled with fun facts and information.
- Small, not bulky. Each workbook measures only 8.8 x 6.8 x 0.2 inches and fits easily into your purse or a child’s small backpack. Great to keeping the kids occupied when we go out and they have to wait –say, at the doctor’s office, waiting for our orders to come in a restaurant, etc.
- For the lower levels (2 &3), there are stickers to play with at the back of the book. The stickers relate back to some of the passages/stories in the workbook.
- The exercises are varied throughout the book, very engaging and they challenge the child to think in different ways.
- The stories and passages are illustrated in color, making the read more visually stimulating.
- They are only USD 3.95 each (and you get FREE shipping –worldwide! -when you order from The Book Depository).
If you feel that your child finds a level too easy, you could always get the next level up. Workbooks are to help kids learn new concepts, practice/reinforce concepts they have learned in school… and I believe the Flash Kids series definitely do this –in a fun and engaging way.