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Puzzlewise for Growing Minds (Crossword Puzzle Book) Review by Kris Price

Test Best International, Inc.
P.O. Box 28312
Bellingham, WA 98228 U.S.A.

Post in Math, Critical Thinking This series of books, Puzzlewise for Growing Minds, is to be used as a supplement to your curriculum. The only subject available at the moment is Math (Grades 1-8), but books covering information in Science, Vocabulary and Spanish are in the works. Crossword puzzles have long been acclaimed as mentally stimulating and that is the venue the authors have chosen to use to help children review material they are currently learning. All of the review material in the books are "aligned with national standards and grade level expectations for every state in the USA." These standards and a list of national content is included in the front of the book for the teacher/parent to review. There is also a teaching guide which explains how to get the most out of the book and gives a sample schedule to follow.

I was given the 6th grade math puzzle book for this review. The book contains 45 lessons - 36 weekly lessons and 9 monthly assessments - with each puzzle being composed of 25-45 clues each. Answer keys are included in the back of the book. The first 10 puzzles review 5th and 6th grade material while the final five puzzles cover 6th and 7th grade material. I should note that my 6th grader is "ahead" in math and working through Saxon 87 (pre-algebra) this year and is doing well. She was stumped on a few of the problems in the 2nd puzzle and was a bit surprised at that. I believe that presenting the material in a different fashion is what got her and I liked that! It's good to twist things around a little because children can get used to math being presented in one way. Their minds need to be challenged to view a problem from different angles.

It didn't take too long for her to complete the beginning puzzles, maybe 20 minutes for the 25 question puzzle. I can see it taking longer as questions are added and believe I would probably split the puzzle up across several days so that she wouldn't be spending too much time on one day trying to finish it up. I liked this book and would consider buying more in the series for my oldest child. They are inexpensive ($7.95) and a good way to determine areas in which a child needs more review.

-Product review by Kris Price, Assistant to the Publishers, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2006