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Vocabulary Power Grade 1: 200 Words to Know for Reading Comprehension

By Audrey Carangelo

Knowledge of words and their definitions helps new readers uncover the meaning behind sentences and stories as a whole. Vocabulary Power Grade 1 is a sturdy spiral-bound flip book containing 200 vocabulary words your first grade student should know. The back cover folds out to enable it to stand. Each page includes a vocabulary word, pronunciation, part of speech, and definition, as well as a colorful cartoon illustrating the meaning and a question and answer to ensure the child's comprehension. Each page is double sided for flipping over once side one is completed.

The idea behind Vocabulary Power Grade 1 is to encourage students to spend three minutes a day reading and learning new vocabulary words. You can leave the book standing on the counter to flip and read during breakfast or anytime. Parents could encourage children to use the words in sentences throughout the day and possible provide incentives for correct usage. This book is fairly small and could easily fit into a purse or book bag for use "on-the-go." It is perfect for portable study, such as passing the time in a doctor's waiting room.

I think Vocabulary Power Grade 1 is a useful product for teaching vocabulary words. If you don't have a very extensive vocabulary and want to teach your children not to fear words, Vocabulary Power could be a great solution. It is very stress-free learning and involves no planning for the parent. The illustrations are cute and colorful.

However, if you're a family of Scrabble players who love to use good words in common speech, this might seem a little easy for your children. My husband is a major word lover, and my first grader rolled her eyes when we saw some of the words she already knew and used (like "frown"). Some of the words seemed so basic that children much younger have most likely grasped the meaning by experience. For example, if I say the word "brownie," my two-year-old is certain to run to the table. She can't articulate the definition, but she certainly comprehends and expects to be given "a baked chocolate dessert."

I would lean more toward recommending this product for students with special needs or learning disabilities. For them it would be a non-confrontational way to tackle a difficult subject. My five-year-old son struggles with most subjects. He really enjoyed using Vocabulary Power Grade 1 and looked forward to using his new words throughout the day. I thought the words were more appropriate for his age level than for first grade.

Personally, I would not recommend Vocabulary Power Grade 1 for children who don't struggle with comprehension. I think that, for most kids, it would be less expensive and more beneficial to just speak good vocabulary within their hearing. I think that if you hear a word used enough in common speech, the brain makes the connection.

Product review by Heather Randall, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, October 2009

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