Critical Thinking Skills Books For Kids

  • "You wouldn't think something so fun could have such a profound effect on your thought process! Mind Benders® sharpen organizational and informational processing skills as well as strengthen reading skills."
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  • "Word Roots is everything I was searching for and more. It goes beyond spelling tests and teaches students to decipher words based upon prefixes, suffixes, and roots. The focus is on meaning, which in turn increases comprehension."
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  • "We did an experiment to see if Building Thinking Skills® would help students perform better on standardized and state tests. The improvement was remarkable. Test scores went up even after the first few months!"
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  • "The fun thing about Mathematical Reasoning™ is that every page is a little different. No rote facts or boredom here! Mix that in with a few game-like activities and lots of colors and pictures, and they had my kiddo hooked."
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  • "U.S. History Detective® is fabulous. You have to do more than just figure out the correct answer -- you have to give the sentence number(s) that best supports your answer. I love that. You have to read the text and support your conclusions."
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  • "I love the Language Smarts™ curriculum. My son enjoys it very much and can follow the simple instructions with ease. Thanks to The Critical Thinking Co.™, my son scores high on his standardized and placement tests."
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  • "Reading Detective® is the best reading comprehension teaching material I have found! I love that your material teaches the student HOW to comprehend, and how to look for the answers in the text. I love your evidence-seeking approach!"
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  • "The wealth of game-like activities and colorful illustrations in Fun-Time Phonics!™ make it feel like play rather than work, allowing kids to enjoy themselves while acquiring the skills and confidence that lead to fluency."
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  • "My children love Balance Benders™; in fact, I would not be exaggerating if I said they were addicted to them. I sincerely thank you for a product that makes what can be extremely difficult skills to master an absolute blast for my children."
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  • Young children learn to think in new ways when they imagine, guess, describe, and wonder. Try these books to engage your child’s curiosity and to inspire her to see different views of the world.

    (Note: Many of these books are available in Spanish, and can be purchased as a hardcover, paperback, or board book.)

    Round Like a Ball, by Lisa Campbell Ernst. 2008.

    The book begins with a familiar guessing game: "I’m thinking of something that’s round like a ball.” Each page offers a new clue. The paper cutout shape in each illustration is a visual hint to the answer. What’s round like a ball? It’s the Earth! Although this book introduces many facts about Planet Earth, you can also use it to spark a conversation about color, shape, and size.

    Available in English. Can be purchased as a hardcover and paperback.

    Not a Box (2006) and Not a Stick (2007), by Antoinette Portis.

    These books feature simple line drawings that will spark your child’s imagination. When asked, “Why are you sitting on that box?” a rabbit replies, “It’s not a box,” then demonstrates that it’s a racecar, a mountain, and a robot. In Not a Stick, a pig imagines his stick becoming a sword, a horse, and more. These books will inspire your child to consider many different ways to imagine and pretend.

    Available in English and Spanish. Can be purchased as a hardcover, paperback, and board book.

    Just How Long Can a Long String Be?! by Keith Baker. 2009.

    In this story, a bird and an ant discuss all the uses for a piece of simple white string. The examples are imaginative and each contains a sense of purpose or fun, such as “[hanging] a picture on a wall” and “[helping] the sweet pea vines grow tall.” As the string winds its way from page to page, the book imparts a feeling of connectedness among all things in the world, and will encourage your child to think about the many uses of simple things.

    Available in English. Can be purchased as a hardcover and paperback.

    Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. 2009.

    In this funny book, two unseen characters disagree on what kind of animal stands before them. Is the creature a duck with a bill? A rabbit with tall ears? The answer is that it all depends on how you look at things. This clever book reveals that sometimes there really is more than one right answer.

    Available in English and Spanish. Can be purchased as a hardcover and paperback.

    Try this:

    • Play the game, “I’m Thinking of Something.” Use words that describe shape, color, and size to give clues about a familiar household object (“I’m thinking of something brown. It has four legs. It’s made of wood.”) You and your child can take turns leading the game. You can also ask your younger child to think of the different uses of household objects. We use spoons, for example, to stir, eat, give medicine, and—in a child’s world—dig!
    • Break out the boxes. Collect cardboard boxes of all sizes and watch how your child plays with them. He may imagine the box is many things other than just a box—a car, a cave, or even a bed!
    • Talk about it. Discuss how sometimes there is more than one way to see the world. The unseen characters in Duck! Rabbit! are each certain that their interpretation is the right one, but both are right. There is more than one way to read the illustration. It’s an optical illusion. Helping your child see this is a great transition into a conversation about what happens when two people see something differently and how there’s not always just one right answer.

    Source: Adapted from S. Friedman, 2010, "Stretch Children's Thinking," Now Read This!, Teaching Young Children 3 (4): 3.

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