Vocabulary Smarts, Book 2 (for grades 4-5) aims to teach students the meanings of the most frequently used words in a school setting. However, defining unknown words is not the only focus. In the short introduction, the author states, "To give students a deeper understanding of these words and improve thinking skills, students are asked to classify word pairs and then use at least two of the words in a sentence. Simple definitions are given to help students identify meaning and learn dictionary skills. The book is divided into halves. The first half covers four skills (past/present verbs, singular/plural nouns, antonyms, and synonyms). The second half covers four additional skills (contractions, compound words, homophones, and pronouns)."
Each lesson is structured in the same way. There is a box that lists the skills being taught (depending on which half of the book the child is in). Following this is a list of four vocabulary words, two of which have a relationship the child needs to identify (i.e. two may be synonyms or past/present forms of the same word etc.). Once the words with a relationship are identified, they are then to be used in a single sentence (on two blank lines provided). This format is repeated four more times, introducing a total of 20 new vocabulary words per lesson. All of the definitions are listed right on the lesson page, making it very easy for the student to check a word's meaning without having to flip pages or use a large dictionary.
My 9-year-old enjoyed doing this (the workbook oriented girl she is), and found it easy to use independently. I appreciate how it helps to improve not only vocabulary, but reading, writing, comprehension, spelling, and dictionary skills as well. If you're looking for a thorough, grade appropriate vocabulary product that meets these criteria, Vocabulary Smarts, Book 2 is an excellent choice.