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Big Brother was an early reader. I didn’t have to teach him. He is one of those kids that just did it. He’s always been a good, fluent, advanced reader. Because of this, I haven’t been diligent to take the time to teach him the basics. He is a great reader and super creative when it comes to story telling. However, the mechanics in his writing are lacking. I take full responsibility. Because of this, when I was presented with the opportunity to review Editor in Chief Level 1 (for grades 4-5) from The Critical Thinking Co. I was thrilled and jumped on the chance.

Big Brother needs a reason to learn something. He needs to know the practical, life implications for what he is doing. What better way to teach kids grammar than promoting them to the position of Editor in Chief. Each lesson focuses on a certain area of editing (like content, capitalization, punctuation, etc.).

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The Critical Thinking Co.

The Critical Thinking Co. is known for its high quality books. The books are award winning and really help kids focus and analyze as they are learning. The books elicit deeper thinking.

Editor in Chief Level 1 is for students in 4th or 5th grade. We received a paperback book. It is consumable… meaning you write in the book. However, and I LOVE THIS, you can also make copies from the book to use with multiple students!  The student writes in the workbook (or copy) and the answer key is in the back.

Big Brother loves puzzles. He is a problem solver. Editor in Chief Level 1 is right up his alley. In each lesson, he is presented with a passage to proofread. He has to comb over the passage and look for errors. On the page is a little checklist so he knows how many and what type of errors he is looking for.

The books contains 69 activity pages. After every three lessons, there is a mini- review.

The lessons are as follows:

  1. Content
  2. Capitalization
  3. Punctuation
  4. Spelling Rules
  5. Nouns and Pronouns
  6. Adjectives, Adverbs, and Articles
  7. Verbs
  8. Agreement
  9. Conjunctions, Prepositions, and Interjections
  10. Confusing Word Pairs/Negative Words
  11. Homophones and Homographs
  12. Run-On Sentences and Sentence Fragments

When we got to the lesson about punctuation, Big Brother said, “Oh yay! I’ve been waiting for this one!”

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Using Editor in Chief

I have been incorporating Editor in Chief Level 1 into Big Brother’s everyday schoolwork. Each lesson contains a short passage, a picture with caption. He would read the passage and then use the clues to correct the mistakes. The clues are in the form of a little checklist on the top right of the page. This list lets him know how many errors he is searching for in the passage.

We (Big Brother and Myself) have had to learn grammar rules. It’s amazing what you forget. He would ask me for help and I would have to refer to the lesson where the rules are presented. We now have grammar rule posters in our school rule that I made using the lists and such in the book.

At the end of each lesson, there is an option to rewrite the passage without errors. Because this is optional, we decided to skip it. I like that these lessons are short and to the point. Big Brother does not get bogged down or distracted by a lot of reading. The passage is long enough to keep his attention and manageable for editing. For the most part, my son is able to work independently.

Final Thoughts

Yesterday morning, I took Big Brother to his ten year well check. The nurse asked him what his favorite subject in school is. His reply was, “I have this book called Editor in Chief and I get to be like a detective while reading. I get to find and correct errors.”

I’d say this book is a hit. We will likely buy the next one in the series and look into what else The Critical Thinking Co. has to offer. The have products that go across the board and for all different ages.

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