Critical Thinking- Building Thinking Skills

Disclaimer-NewAs a homeschooler, each year end brings us to reflection and assessment.  My neurotypical son is slightly ahead in learning and seeks challenging work.  Summer is the time when I am sifting and sorting various curricula and looking to support diverse needs of my children.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to review The Critical Thinking Co.™ ‘s Building Thinking Skills workbook.  My son was thrilled to see colorful pages with work that did not lean into rote facts alone, however needed some brain muscle flexing.

What is Building Thinking Skills workbook- Level 1?


Cover page

This is a paperback book that is filled with stimulating problems that are not only meant to improve academic performance but also prepare them for cognitive testing.

The book is divided broadly into 10 sections like seen below.  Each section has subsections that deal with that concept in greater detail.  So this builds up with the child in terms of competence.  The book broadly addresses thinking skills necessary for Reading, Writing, Math, Science and Test Prep.

Building thinking skills

Here is a detailed snapshot of what is covered in the book.

  Figural-Spatial Skills

  • Describing shapes
  • Figures: compare / describe /copy / enlarge / divide
  • Diagrams: overlapping classes / Venn / branching / cycle
  • Mental pattern folding / symmetry
  • Directionality / Position in space
  • Mental rotation / reflection / tumbling / stacking / folding of 2-D objects
  • Congruence / area / volume
  • Analogies: size / color / orientation / detail
  • Visual motor integration and memory
  • Use of graphic organizers

  Verbal Skills

  • Spelling / Vocabulary / Writing:  describing things and words
  • Following and writing 1-, 2-, and 3-step directions
  • Antonyms / synonyms
  • Analogies: kind of / part of / used to / association / action
  • Deductive / Inductive reasoning
  • Parts of a whole
  • Map reading
  • Writing directions
  • Logic: if-then / yes-no / true-false
  • Orientation: person / place / time
  • Auditory memory
  • Language acquisition

How we used it?

My son is proficient in many areas like for example “Verbal analogies” so we chose to spirally tend to things he needs patience with.  Although it may be okay for a child to set out sequentially, I preferred to give my son random pages to build his confidence first.  Once he was adequately exposed to each section, he took off and completed some pages on his own.  We worked on some science concepts and moved on to geometry and reasoning.  He took like 5-7 minutes to complete 3 pages a day and the book has 250 pages of work(minus the answer key).

Completed workbook pages

Some of them may be easy and not needing lot of writeup for an advanced second grader.  Some areas need you to explain your thinking and write out detailed answers.  This ensures the child is dipping in his feet well and has patience to work thoroughly.

Our Experience:-

The workbook has allowed my son to work on small chunks incrementally and consistently.  This is one skill that I want him to get better at. And I would say this text has encouraged him to work through diverse types of problems independently.  Each ability (for example, categorizing) is initially provided in semi-concrete, figural-spatial form before being presented in abstract verbal form. I do think this is a good feeder for gifted testing preparation.

Completed workbook pages- Gifted

The flow of the workbook makes it apt for the child to work on it through summer and keep up with his/her learning goals.  In this day and age of online testing and preparation we are pleased to have a hands-on workbook to pace out learning and hold up to review errors.

Final thoughts:-

I would recommend this book to any child looking forward to challenging work.  This book is an asset to someone preparing for cognitive testing.  My son has already committed to doing this work during summer given how interestingly it is structured.  He said, “I think this kind of practice will prepare me well for testing”.  That’s self-confidence at its best, putting the child in driver’s seat.  I hope this article may have provided you with some insights if you are looking around for your child’s academic enrichment.  Please head over to our crew to read more reviews on several other products from The Critical Thinking Co.™ Be sure to check out their FREE Math and Critical Thinking worksheets.

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