This is one in a series of workbooks, each of which offers an abundance of learning activities, exercises, and games that are presented with superb production values. Appropriate to the given age level, much of the material focuses on basic subjects such natural science, mathematics, history, and social studies while enabling children to strengthen their reading, reasoning, and writing skills. The editors of Brain Quest believe that:
"All kids are smart - though they learn at their own speed
All kids learn best when they're having fun
All kids deserve the chance to reach their potential - given the tools they need, there's no limit how far they can go!"
I agree, while presuming to add that children will learn more and have more fun meanwhile if, when completing various exercises, adults are involved. As a parent of four and a grandparent of ten, I can personally attest to the pleasure an adult will also have. Each volume in the series is a WORK book. Exercises are completed with crayolas or pencils on the page on which it appears. Correct answers are provided. One caveat: Resist the temptation to control the learning process as a child completes an exercise.
This volume, for Grade 2 (ages 7-8), was written by Liane Onish, with Jill Swann serving as consulting editor. It is worth noting that Swann was a 2004 National Teacher of the Year Regional Award Winner. The material consists of carefully organized curriculum-based exercises that help children to gain an understanding of phonics, spelling and vocabulary, language arts, reading, writing, cursive, math skills, addition and subtraction, multiplication and fractions, shapes and measurement, time and money, social studies, and science. Also included are more than 150 stickers, an all-new Brain Quest Mini-Card Deck, and a fold-out "50 States, 50 Flags" poster.
Here is a representative selection of exercises:
Girl with Curls
Write [the missing] "er, " "ir, " or "ur" to complete the words. (Page 28)
Spell Like a Shark!
Spell all the "ar" words [start, march, far, party, park, hard, cart, garden, harm, art, large, and bar] from the Word Box in alphabetical order. (49)
Fun at the Playground!
The words on the balls [below] are all pronouns.
Rewrite each sentence using the pronoun that can take the place of the underlined word(s) in each sentence. (77)
Read the story.
Answer the questions for each part of the story. (94-97)
Read the beginning of [each of three stories].
Write about what happens next [in the space provided].
Then draw a picture [in the space provided]. (128-130)
H Is for Hannah
Trace the letters. Then write them. [in the space provided].
Trace the sentence. (139)Count by Fours!
Start at 4.
Write the missing numbers on the [Ferris wheel] cars.
[Then] If there were four more cars on the Ferris wheel, what number would be on the last car? [insert number in space indicated] (173)
Hundreds of Gum Balls
Add the numbers using regrouping. (196-197)
Read about these important American women.
Write their names and birthdays on the time line below. (264-265)
Each of the volumes in this series (pre-K through Grade 4) would be an excellent book for parents, grandparents, and others to purchase and then share with a child at an appropriate stage of her or his development. No doubt there are precocious children who will prefer more challenging material associated with later grades but I think it would be a mistake to rush the learning process. Worse yet, to indicate little interest in it.
Congratulations to the Workman Publishing Company and especially to the editors of Brain Quest. How pleased they must be to know that their materials have already helped to nourish so many young minds and to delight so many young hearts and, fortunately, will continue to do so for the development of other children in months and years to come.