Operation High School is a novel about a shy high school
student, Emma, who gets into a dangerous situation in her new hometown.
One day during school, she finds a mysterious note in her textbook
that leads her to a secret school society and some great friends.
The society members have a desire to become spies, and they find
out about a group of terrorists in their city. When they try to
learn more, they end up getting captured by the terrorists.
At approximately 200 pages, this book is unique in the way it
introduces new vocabulary (300 words) to the reader. This is accomplished
in three ways: target words are bolded and used in context, they
are defined at the bottom of the page on which they appear, and
a word review is included at the end of each chapter. The word
review lists all the vocabulary words in that chapter. An index
with a list of all the vocabulary words, pronunciations, parts
of speech, and definitions is found at the back of the book. The
pronunciation system used is more contemporary than the traditional
one used in many dictionaries.
The main character, Emma, goes to a Baptist church and mentions
Bible stories in the descriptions of her adventures. Since her
parents are away for the weekend during which most of the story
takes place, the book avoids interactions and possible conflicts
with them. Although she sneaks out one night, Emma is mostly well
behaved and has good motives.
A short introduction explains the concept. You read the book and
hopefully are motivated to check the definitions (located at the
bottom of the page) of any unfamiliar words. The definitions are
concise so that you get the info you need and can quickly jump
back to the story. Pronunciations are also included. It is recommended
that the reader use the word review immediately after each chapter
to reinforce the new words learned. Vocabulary flashcards are available
for purchase from the publisher.
My 15-year-old son read the book and found the story line riveting.
He says, "If I could change anything about this book, I think Emma
should have pushed to let her parents know about the secret society
since it would be the right thing to do and since other 'parent'
figures also know about their activities. Overall, the book was
amazing, and I would love it to be made into a series."
Written for all readers who want to increase their vocabularies,
the book is also designed to help students who are preparing for
the SAT or similar exams. Even though this book's main character
is a girl, her friends in the society include boys as well, so
male readers will also identify with the story and enjoy it.
We have found that lots of exposure to good literature over the
years has naturally led to an excellent vocabulary, and Operation
High School is a fun tool to use as a supplement.