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Are you looking for material to prepare your Grade 1 child to take the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test® (OLSAT®) Level B? You've come to the right place. I explain why I recommend the titles I do immediately below. If you want to get straight to the recommendations scroll down.

The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test® is a multiple-choice test. The children indicate their answers by shading a bubble underneath the picture they choose on the question paper (they don't fill in the scantron form). There is no reading. The test proctor reads the instructions, questions and answers once only. Listening is very important. For the OLSAT® you want to expose your children to verbal, aural, arithmetic, pictorial and figural reasoning activities. The Building Thinking Skills series is a great place to start for verbal and figural reasoning. Add to that Can You Find Me? for pictorial and aural reasoning and Mathematical Reasoning for arithmetic reasoning and you're well placed. The LUK Learning System adds another dimension introducing independent learning and concentration building activities.

Building Thinking Skills Primary was designed for the typical child in Gr K-1. If you've got a gifted 1st grader this title will probably be too simple. I include it in case your child has English as second language and isn't well versed in American classifications and everyday terms. The verbal activities in the second half of the book use a similar pictorial presentation to that of the OLSAT®. If your child finds the verbal activities in Level 1 of Building Thinking Skills too difficult then this is a good place to start.

Your gifted child is probably ready for Level 1 of Building Thinking Skills (for the typical child in Gr 2-3). Don't expect them to work through the book independently or to write answers. Scribe for them, allow them to just tell you the answer or choose the software. The first half of the book provides practice in figural (also called spatial or non-verbal) reasoning. The second half of the book covers verbal reasoning skills building to verbal analogies.

Can You Find Me? is a great choice to use for listening and reasoning. For testing it will be important that your child stays focused and listens to the instructions, questions and answer options. Some gifted children don't do as well in screening tests, like the OLSAT®, as they could because they are impatient and don't listen to the entire question before choosing their answer. Another common problem is to look for a more complex pattern or relationship than is intended by the questioner. Using both the Pre K and K levels of Can You Find Me? can help build both these skills within the context of the cognitive skills the OLSAT® tests for. If this is not a big issue for your child then just get the K-1 level.

Think Analogies is an excellent title for learning how analogies work and practicing with verbal analogy pairs. The lowest level in the Think Analogy series is recommended for children in Gr 3-5. Your first grader is unlikely to be able to use it as a workbook for independent study as it was written. Think Analogies is recommended here because it has pages at the end with simple illustrations and instructions for a game to be played with them matching analogy pairs. The art work is not dissimilar to that on the OLSAT® Test and the game provides plenty of opportunity to discuss the language your child will need to be familiar with.

If you want just one book I can't offer anything that covers the entire skill set tested for in the OLSAT® but recommend that you choose between Building Thinking Skills Level 1 and Can You Find Me? K-1 The best one for you will depend on your child and what they do and don't know already.

While there is no math per se in the OLSAT® questions on arithmetic reasoning are included at this level. As an illustration a question might ask the child to identify the picture of flower with two more flowers than the first picture. The Mathematical Reasoning series has more math that you'll need but it develops this type of reasoning skill. Your gifted child is probably ready for Level C in this series. Again I recommend looking at the sample pages and trying the activities with your child. If they look too difficult then start with Mathematical Reasoning B.

Math Analogies is another good choice for both arithmetic reasoning and verbal and figural reasoning. It uses pictures and numbers to present analogies and the user has to complete analogy pairs.

As with traditional mathematics conventional Language-Arts including topics like reading and grammar are not explicitly tested for in the OLSAT®. If your child has English as a second language, or speaks a second language at home, or if you just want to give them a solid grounding in word analysis then Language Smarts is another possibility. This title is, as one would expect, heavy on traditional language-arts activities but it integrates thinking skills into the material so your child will be exposed to the type of reasoning tested for on the OLSAT as they brush up on vocabulary, grammar, reading and writing.

If you are in New York your child will be taking the Bracken School Readiness Assessment (BSRA) in addition to the OLSAT®. Mathematical Reasoning Level C and Language Smarts are great choices for this although both contain a lot more than will be tested for.

If you have some time I offer book bundles offer the titles recommended and others utilizing the skills in different contexts. Most bright Kindergarten children year olds will be ready for much of the material in the Gr 2 Book Bundle. If you decide to purchase this bundle I strongly recommend adding Can You Find Me? K-1

The final title in the list of recommendations below is the Spectrum Test Prep book for Gr 1-2. This series was designed to prepare children for conventional standardized tests of reading and math. Despite the difference in focus from the OLSAT® there are a number of questions in this book that are similar in content and format to those on the OLSAT®. In addition practice listening and shading bubbles is very important for some children. Remember as you use this book that your child will not see any words when they take the test. If your child is reading it will be important for you to cover the words and only let them see the pictures as they listen to your instructions so that they can practice focused listening.

OLSAT® and Otis-Lennon School Ability Test® are registered trademarks of NCS Pearson. The recommendations made here are those of Think Tonight and are not endorsed by NCS Pearson.
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Teach Your Kids to Think Teach Your Kids to Think

For parents of children of all ages
Pages: 108
Author: Maria Fisk

Suggestions and tools to help parents teach their children how to think wisely and well during the time they already spend together.

Our Price: $14.95
Mind Benders Verbal Mind Benders Verbal

Grade(s): K-2
Activities: 78
Pages: 32

Deductive reasoning puzzles teach children logic and improve reading comprehension and test scores. This level differs from the others in the series in that it is designed to be done as a read aloud. The majority of testing of children prior to 3rd grade is done orally. This is a great preparation for the listening and reasoning skills required for test taking.

Our Price: $9.99
Thinking Skills for Tests Thinking Skills for Tests Set

Grade(s): Pre K-2
Pages: 120 (two books with 60 pages each)

Nine core thinking skills form the base of verbal and non-verbal reasoning and logic and are commonly tested in primary level testing for school and gifted program placement. This title presents questions in a format similar to that of many commonly used tests. The Workbook presents the questions without words just as a student will see them during a test. The Instructor/Answer book provides a script for presenting the questions and additional information for building on the skills.

Our Price: $22.98
Can You Find Me K-1 Can You Find Me K-1

Grade(s): K-1
Activities: 80
Pages: 101

Can You Find Me? develops skills in reading readiness, science, math, and social studies using five basic thinking skills: similarities and differences, sequences, classifications, analogies, and logic. Each riddle requires identification of two or more clues to deduce the answer. Activities may be enhanced by teaching additional information about the animals, objects, shapes, letters, and numbers used in the riddles.

Our Price: $16.99
Spectrum Test Prep Grade 1 Spectrum Test Prep Grade 1

Boosts confidence and helps learners improve test scores by offering children the preparation they need for standardized tests.

Our Price: $9.99
Building Thinking Skills Level 1 Building Thinking Skills Level 1

Grade(s): 2-3
Pages: 370

Building Thinking Skills®
teaches non-verbal and verbal reasoning. These skills are rarely explictly taught in the classroom but are essential for academic excellence and success on any assessment test. In print for over 30 years this is a world-wide top seller. Also available in software - a game like presentation of the same exercises.

Our Price: $29.99
Mathematical Reasoning Level C Mathematical Reasoning Level C

Grade(s): 2
Pages: 320

Mathematical Reasoning™ helps your child devise strategies to solve a wide variety of math problems. These books emphasize problem solving and computation to build the math reasoning skills necessary for success in higher level math and math assessments. Complete math curriculum for the typical second grade child. Bright children can use this title at a younger age.

Our Price: $42.99
Math Analogies Level 1 Math Analogies Level 1

Grade(s): 2-3
Pages: 48

Understanding analogies and the ability to reason analogically are important problem-solving skills. There are few resources to assist children in the explict use of analogous reasoning with quantitative and spatial information. This series fills that void.

Our Price: $11.99
Thinking Skills & Key Concepts Thinking Skills & Key Concepts (Second Grade)

Grade: 2
Pages: 160, color

This book uses powerful lessons to develop thinking skills important to academic success while teaching the key kindergarten common core concepts. Enhance cognitive development through discussion and observation. Students develop analytical skills as well as deductive and inferential reasoning skills as they work through the exercises.

Our Price: $21.99
Thinking Skills & Key Concepts Thinking Skills & Key Concepts: Teacher's Manual (Second Grade)

Grade: 2
Pages: 192
Format: paperback, reproducible

Parent/Teacher Resource Manual to accompany student book. Does not contain questions. The Parent/Teacher resource contains teaching notes. It is highly recommended for new parents learn how to work with their child to develop higher order thinking skills.

Our Price: $22.99
Visual Discrimination Visual Discrimination: Exploring and Solving Picture Patterns

Grade: 2-6
Pages: 36
Reproducible for single home or classroom use

Developing the ability to recognize visual patterns builds visual discrimination and critical thinking skills necessary for academic achievement. 30 reproducible worksheets of increasing complexity. Each worksheet provides the student with the task of examining pictures to identify patterns and sequences.

Our Price: $8.95