Building Thinking Skills Beginning 2
This colorful, fun yet challenging 240-page book teaches and develops students' thinking and problem-solving skills. It helps students build confidence and self-esteem in their problem-solving skills as they learn new educational concepts. It is common for many preschool and kindergarten students to guess at challenging activities rather than use a reasoned approach (organized analysis) to arrive at an answer. Learning to use organized analysis at an early age is an important part of success in reading, writing, math, and science.
This book is also an excellent test-prep resource for preschool and kindergarten students because the activities exceed the cognitive challenges in most kindergarten cognitive tests. It is also effective at developing academic vocabulary if students are asked to explain why their answer is correct.
Students who begin this book should understand the basic concepts (colors, geometric shapes, types of lines, position, etc.) taught in Building Thinking Skills Beginning 1. Because the activities are challenging—and because of the importance of students verbalizing their thinking—it is recommended that students work with a teacher or parent as they work through the activities.
This is a very complete thinking skills program, covering all of the figural and verbal skills your children are likely to see on a standardized test. The publisher, Critical Thinking Press, states that Building Thinking Skills is "designed to significantly improve verbal and figural skills in four important areas: similarities and differences, sequences, classifications, and analogies. Proficiency in these skills is the cornerstone of success in all academic areas, on standardized tests, and on college entrance exams." They have scads of testimonials documenting the correlation between use of this series and increased test scores. We have no doubt that all the practice you get in using this series would, indeed, improve test scores. More importantly, many of the specific skills practiced here also have application in different professions. Other skills would seem to generally improve your ability to "see things" in different ways or train your mind to stretch in different directions.
The broader goals of this series are translated into specific skills and exercises within these areas. Learning is spiral within skills, within books, and between levels. That is, exercises progress in sophistication and scope within each book, and from level to level. This translates into several hefty worktexts full of practice exercises that children actually enjoy doing! Except for the Primary level, students can work pretty much on their own, proceeding as quickly through the series as they're able. If you're starting an older child in the series, however, use the suggested grade levels for proper placement. Teacher's manuals contain lesson plans and solutions. If you want to be able to correct exercises quickly, or feel some exercises need explanation, you'll want these.