NIGHT BECOMES DAY: CHANGES IN NATURE Written by Cynthia Argentine (Millbrook Press; $29.32, Ages…
As parents, we want our children to be able to wind down during summer break, but we also don’t want them to lose all the skills they worked hard to master during the school year. That’s why so many families turn to summer school or workbooks as refreshers to help maintain knowledge gathered during the previous school year for a smooth transition to a new grade.
For this review I checked out Giant Science ($12.99, Grades 2-3) and Math Basics ($2.99, Grades 5-6) from School Zone. School Zone Publishing, in business over 30 years, is committed to kids and to making learning fun and accessible. They do so by offering their educational products on a variety of platforms: ebooks, iPad Apps, iPhone and Android Apps and more. You can also sign up to receive their monthly newsletter and be the first to learn about special offers plus kids can join their Golden Scholar Club.
Affordable and engaging, these workbooks include a brief parent guide and straightforward examples for students to complete. Parents are encouraged to have their children do the work from the beginning to the end rather than tackling random pages. This will allow the flow of review to mimic what was taught during the school year as concepts were introduced and built upon. While the Giant Science book has 320 pages, the Math Basics is a quick 32 pages and both contain the ever important Answer Key for peace of mind.
As you can see in the cover image above left, skill areas featured range from Birds, to Ocean Life to Weather. The accompanying illustrations are colorful and detailed and help make the review process more than pleasant. Kids can play word searches, fill out charts, decode answers, color, study charts and graphs, fill in the blanks and connect the dots. And while it may sound less like learning and more like playing, if the info is being absorbed, that’s ultimately what matters most! The It’s A Fact and Awesome! boxes highlight important or interesting information and break up the print on the page. It’s elements like that that add to the School Zone workbooks’ appeal.
I liked Math Basics: An I Know It! Book because it was uncomplicated and the tasks were easy to navigate. I haven’t done 5th or 6th grade math in decades so the review of decimals, fractions, ratios, percentages, areas and volume were helpful. There aren’t too many illustrations so tweens won’t feel it’s babyish and the Activities to Share section at the end will give parents the opportunity to turn many everyday occurrences into teaching moments.
All in all, it’s evident that School Zone workbooks are the right solution to combat summer slump. If kids can take just 30 minutes out of their busy schedule to review the problems presented, they can say good-bye to brain drain and hello to a head start this coming school year.
– Reviewed by Ronna Mandel