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Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Product Review

I have used The Critical Thinking Co.™ in the past, so I was excited at the chance to review one of their products. My oldest son chose Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary.

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary

The Critical Thinking Co.™ offers a variety of workbooks for all ages and grade levels. I originally thought they mainly had workbooks for the lower grades, but was happy to see so many choices for high school.

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary is a 40-page workbook for grades 5-12+. My oldest son, in 10th grade this year, worked through the workbook.

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary

There were 12 “lessons” included in the workbook. Each was a “who-done-it” mystery to be solved using vocabulary words. Each mystery had 18-25 words that were challenging and forced you to read for context to solve. The left side of each page had a mystery with four suspects. You had to read the statements and decide who was innocent and who was guilty. Sometimes it was necessary to narrow down the suspects by elimination.

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary

The right side of the two-page spread had a list of 15 fill-in-the-blank sentences. A list of the vocabulary words was provided at the top of the page. There were a few times that a blank could be filled with two different vocabulary words (that were synonyms). However, both choices were listed in the answer key.

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary

If you are wondering what type of words you will find, here is one word from each of the lessons:

  • senescent
  • otiose
  • gasconade
  • au courant
  • acumen
  • moniker
  • dilettantish
  • fecundity
  • capricious
  • abrogate
  • anomaly
  • harangue

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary

My son thought the mysteries were quite challenging which made the book entertaining and educational at the same time. There were many words that he didn’t know, so it extended his vocabulary. He said the words that he did know helped him to narrow down the choice of subjects some of the time.

He also liked the fill-in-the-blank page after each mystery to help solidify the meanings of some of the words. In a way, he actually wished the book was longer because he thought it was fun to read the mysteries, try to solve them, and learn a few new words along the way. The one thing he didn’t like was having to use a dictionary to look up some of the words (but I think it was good that it was challenging him and not just an “easy” assignment).


I liked that the sentences in the lessons were numbered. This helped for being able to go back and discuss. The answers also referred to the numbered sentences.

The vocabulary words were challenging and the mystery stories were entertaining.

The answers in the back of the book with complete explanations of how the guilty subject was found based on the sentences provided were helpful. The answers also included a list of synonyms for the vocabulary words.


I would say these vocabulary words were advanced for most 5-8th graders.

I thought it might have been easier to have the synonyms included in the explanations (answers) to be able to understand instead of having to refer to the synonym list provided.

Final Thoughts

The vocabulary words were definitely challenging, even for high school. I would recommend having your student use a dictionary to look up any words they don’t know before reading the mystery. You could even have your student look up all the words and write a definition as a supplement to the lessons.

I think the Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary workbook would be a great addition to any homeschool. It will challenge your student with vocabulary words that might be seen on the SAT.

After a look through the Critical Thinking Co.™ website, there are other workbooks that we may incorporate soon.  U.S. History Detective Book 1 (a 336-page workbook) and Mind Benders Level 5 (a 48-page workbook) are just two of the many workbooks for high school that looked like something my boys would enjoy.

The Critical Thinking Co.™ is offering two great deals for our readers. First, you can get a free critical thinking puzzle delivered to your inbox weekly. You can choose PreK through Grade 8.

Second, they are offering free shipping and 15% off any size order!! Use Coupon Code: TOSCREW18. This expires 12/31/2018.


Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}

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