Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
I enjoy using products from The Critical Thinking Co.™. This time, I chose to use and review The Language Mechanic, which is designed for use by children ages 9-13, in grades 4-7. I received a PDF of this book, and have been printing sections of it for Mr. Sweetie (grade 7) and Mr. Imagination (grade 5) to work their way through. That’s something I really like about these digital books—I am allowed to print them as many times as I want to for as many of my own children.
The Language Mechanic is intended to be used as a supplementary Language Arts resource, to help children learn grammar and punctuation. The first few lessons cover capitalization, run-ons, and sentence fragments, and then the lessons move on into using parts of speech correctly. During the past few days, my boys have been working on making sure pronouns agree with the nouns they replace, in both number and gender. The next section we’ll do discusses unnecessary words, and then we’ll start on a number of lessons about punctuation. Near the end of the book, there is a series of lessons about friendly letters, and then some work with spelling and vocabulary.
Each lesson begins with a funny mistake that could be made with writing a sentence. If you leave out a comma, or use the wrong pronoun, you can easily mislead your readers. Did the man really dive into the ice cream? Maybe a period would be helpful to break up a run-on sentence and make it make sense! Or, do you know babies who weigh 85 pounds?! It might sound better if you use the correct verb tense. Some of the sentences make us laugh.
Next, the logic behind the rule under discussion is explained. Why do we need to use the correct verb tense? This is followed by two or three pages of practice sentences, in which the student needs to choose the correct word, or choose the sentence that matches up best with the given clues. Sometimes the child gets to choose a word for themselves. At the end of the lesson is a challenge, where they need to find the mistakes in a paragraph and correct them. After several lessons is a review, which covers the entire section.
I have been reading the introduction to each lesson to my boys, although it is set up so that students should be able to understand it on their own. My boys have read it themselves a few times, when I was too busy to take the time for them, but they understand it better if I read over it with them. I usually watch them do the first couple of exercises, to make sure they understand what they are doing, and then they are on their own. They are both doing very well with this book. It is not thorough enough to be a stand-alone Language Arts course, but as a review or brush-up resource, I really like it. The silly sentences make it fun and keep the boys’ interest up.
The Review Crew has been using several other products from The Critical Thinking Co.™. Click on the image below to read reviews of several other books! Or, if you would like to read my previous reviews of their products, go here. And, if you would like to try out some of their products before buying, they offer free PDFs of Math and Critical Thinking Worksheets. Just go here to find them!