If you’re looking for a way to practice vocabulary, without wading through boring word lists, consider adding Super Sleuth to your homeschooling toolbox. It’s a card game that gives students a fun way to brush up on vocabulary – specifically synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and words with multiple meanings.
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All of the questions are written as though you’re a detective trying to solve various cases. For example:
“Never make rash decisions. Don’t be careless. Good detectives think before they act.” Which two words are synonyms?
“Detective, Find out who left a trail of breadcrumbs in the library. The posted signs (blank) people from eating in there.” Fill in the blank with the correct antonym, choosing from the words permit, prohibit, warn, or discourage.
“The wealthy (blank) of Humbug Castle is a suspect in the Missing Bicycle case. Last night he was spotted riding a bike across a (blank) field.” Using the words barren and baron, complete the sentences.
“Agent Yu spots a submarine. As she watches it (blank), she sees a zillion sea slugs sticking to its (blank). Agent Yu is certain that Slime is inside!” Figure out which of these words fits into both blank spaces – land, operate, surface, or flee.
The object is to be the first player to collect badges from each of the four categories.
Each Super Sleuth game comes with 200 cards, a secret answer decoder, and small cardboard badges, representing the different parts of vocabulary.
How to Play Super Sleuth
- The first player picks a category, chooses a card and reads the clue, as well as the four multiple choice answers, out loud.
- He states his answer.
- Someone uses the decoder to uncover the answer found on the back of the card.
- If he’s answered correctly, he can collect the corresponding badge.
What We Enjoyed
- It’s small and compact, making it easy to play in the car or to take along on vacation.
- With the included decoder, kids can play on their own because they can check the hidden answer, found on the back of each card.
- The vocabulary isn’t tied to our language arts curriculum, so by playing this game, I can see what level my children’s skills are at and whether they need to be challenged or given more help.
- For students who don’t have any experience with standardized vocabulary tests, this game gives them insights into common layouts for vocabulary questions they’ll encounter when they take tests like the ACT and SAT.
- Some of the cards were simple for my teen, but others, especially the multiple meaning and homophones, could be tricky and definitely make her think. Both gave her confidence.
Making it Harder for Advanced or Older Students
If you’ve gone through all of the cards or your children found many of the clues to be simple, you can continue to play the game by making a couple of adjustments.
- Instead of having a player read her own card, let another person read the question, but not the possible answers. Let them fill in the blanks on their own.
- After giving the correct answer, have your student think of another word that would also fit.
- With the antonym and synonym cards, ask the players to give you words that are the opposite of what the card is looking for. Let’s say, to fill in the blank, you need an antonym for the word build. Instead, they would give you a synonym.
Vocabulary, like most other subjects, doesn’t always have to be dry and boring. Use games, like Super Sleuth to work on basic language arts skills.
More ideas for making language arts fun for your middle schooler –
- How to Improve Creative Writing Skills with a Game
- Improve Creative Writing Skills with StoryBuilders
- Play some of these word games for middle school to improve your tween’s language – both reading and writing.