Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: College Prep Genius I Can't Find My Children!

Well, I couldn't for awhile anyway.  They kept disappearing.  First I would notice things were a bit too quiet.  Then, I'd look around.  Where were they?  On their beds, on my bed, on the sofa, on the porch, anywhere they could slip away for a few minutes.  They were reading these books.
The Vocab Cafe books
I love the concept of working SAT words into stories and having definitions at the bottom of the page.  The review words at the back of the chapters would be good for drilling spelling and definitions. 

Josh Burke, from Vocab Cafe, describes the series like this, "Each book contains an original, narrative story that includes 300 SAT-level vocabulary words interspersed throughout the plot. The vocabulary selections are bold-italicized with a corresponding definition and pronunciation guide at the bottom of every page. The goal is to help students learn words in context, and thus make the process of vocabulary building more effective and fun."

Before I say another word, keep in mind that I am a conservative Christian homeschooling mother.  We do not watch television.  My children are not exposed to youth culture on a regular basis.  I reviewed these products with my 12 and 14 year olds.  These facts influence the way I viewed these books.

Things I liked: 
 -The concept of using SAT words in stories for young adults is good.
 -The concept of writing definitions at the bottom of the pages is good.
 -The concept of including the pronunciation of the SAT words in the definitions is good.
 -Using bold italics for the SAT words made them easy to pick out.
 -The length of the stories is good.

Things I didn't like:
 -The stories I read moved too slowly to keep my interest well.
 -The SAT words fit awkwardly into the sentences.  It seemed that the author wrote a sentence then substituted a hard word for an easy word. 
 -For a college bound SAT prep book, I didn't expect the errors in grammar and spelling that could have been avoided by careful proof-reading and editing.
 -The graphic violence in I.M. for Murder was inappropriate for young readers.
 -The boy-girl relationship focus in some of the stories was inappropriate for young readers. 
 -Keeping secrets from parents, disobedience to parents, disrespect for authority, and destruction of property was presented as admirable actions.

Who might benefit best from this product:
-I think that public school students or teachers may find these books to be beneficial.
-College bound students who read popular teen books.
-Older teens.
This product is part of the College Prep Genius.  College Prep Genius was created by a homeschooling mom dedicated to helping your student increase his or her SAT scores.  The creator's children went to college on a free ride scholarship.  Imagine that, free college for your kids!  I encourage you to go to their website, look at their products, and decide for yourself.  The other products look great.

My children may not have been the best testers of these books.    
Please click the button to see what other crew members thought of this product.
I received this product free in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for taking the time to review our products. Your opinion has definitely helped us improve our books! We have had them all revised by a brand new editor to remove any grammatical errors or typos and enhance the readability of the stories. We also re-wrote most of the vocabulary sentences in order to make them feel less "substituted."

    Our publisher is also poring over the manuscripts currently to make sure all the story lines coincide with our values as a company.

    Thanks again for helping us improve!

    Josh Burk


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