REVIEWS - Curriculum, books, media, homeschool products

The Critical Thinking Co. Language Smarts Review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

It’s not often I get the opportunity to review a product for younger kids, so I gladly said yes when asked to write an informational review of Language Smarts Level E , a full language arts curriculum for 4th grade from The Critical Thinking Co. I am familiar with their products, as we have used them for several years in our homeschool.

About the Critical Thinking Co.

If we teach children everything we know, their knowledge is limited to ours. If we teach children to think, their knowledge is limitless.” – Michael Baker, President

I love that quote, and it sums up what the Critical Thinking Co. is all about. They do not teach through drill and memorization or teach to the tests—they empower the mind! From experience, I find this to be true, and why their products have won several awards. When you use their products, you get much more than another workbook. Your child/student learns critical thinking skills! Those skills will be used not only throughout their education, but throughout their whole lives. As a parent and a teacher, that is the goal I have for my own kids – to think!

About Language Smarts Level E

Spelling – check. Parts of speech – check. Punctuation – check. Reading and writing – check. Language Smarts Level E covers every one of these things, and then some! The book itself is a hefty 392 page paperback workbook with perforated pages. The activities between the covers are plenty for a 4th grade language arts core curriculum or can be used as a supplemental resource. Language Smarts Level E is an open and go curriculum that is not highly parent-intensive. Your role is to provide clues, not answers when your student needs help (but there is an answer key at the back of the book). There are a variety of activities to challenge and engage the student in all areas of language arts, and also sufficiently covers what you will find on many standardized tests.

The first section deals with word parts and relationships. There really is no “lesson plan”. The “lessons” are very concise and are in a text box at the top of the page. The student will complete a variety of activities such as fill-in-the-blank, crosswords and word searches. The same goes for the spelling section. There are no weekly word lists to memorize. Emphasis is placed on the “rule” such as when to drop the silent e, or when to add -s or -es, and other common spelling rules. Next is a short section on the use of reference materials, then a large section on language mechanics.

The last section of Language Smarts Level E covers reading and writing – and boy does it cover it! Similes, metaphors, idioms, proverbs, quotations, genres of literature, reading comprehension and more. Students will learn to write a summary, a personal narrative, as well as an opinion and an informative style paper. The writing activities are broken into chunks that guide your young writer through the process without being overwhelming.

A peek inside

What I thought of Language Smarts Level E

My first thought was, “where was this when my kids were in fourth grade?”. Then I checked the copyright date. We just missed it by a couple of years, darn. There are many things I really like about Language Smarts Level E .

  • It is a complete language arts curriculum. No need for separate spelling, grammar, reading, and writing books.
  • The lessons foster independence in a gentle way at a young age.
  • Instructions are informative, yet concise.
  • The worksheets are not overly lengthy, and the layout is clear and simple.
  • Some of their other products such as Editor in Chief and Writing Detective are woven in nicely.
  • Most of all, it requires thinking.

The Critical Thinking Co. has done it again with a fantastic product! Language Smarts Level E is a good fit for a variety of learners. It has both a mix of fill-in-the-blanks plus what-do-you-think type questions to suit the traditional type learners/teachers and also covers all the bases for those who take more of an eclectic approach. The only thing that would make it any better is if there were a few unit or topic reviews scattered throughout. Check out some of their other products by downloading FREE PDFs of math & critical thinking worksheets at

Several products are available to check out from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew. Click the banner below to read what other reviewers used and their thoughts.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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