SentenceBuilder for iPad

App review by
Stacy Zeiger, Common Sense Media
SentenceBuilder for iPad App Poster Image
Simple sentence games help kids' grammar skills.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to create descriptive sentences. The skills practiced in the game transfer to real-life sentence creation, particularly when students must describe settings or events. As they create sentences, kids will learn how descriptive sentences should be structured. Although SentenceBuilder does a good job of teaching sentence structure through fun trial-and-error games, more complex grammatical concepts, such as subject-verb agreement, aren't explicitly taught.

Ease of Play

Kids might find it difficult to start when entering the app; text-heavy instructions and a small, awkwardly placed play button can be confusing. Once you're in the game, forming sentences comes with ease, but players must complete a sentence to go back to other screens.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

An advertisement for Pines to Vines, a digital textbook, appears on the settings screen. In-app purchases (of two additional modules) are encouraged.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SentenceBuilder for iPad helps kids learn to form sentences and gain a better understanding of grammar. This app is helpful for kids who may have difficulty with organization of language issues such as omissions of critical parts of sentences. There are multiple levels to play; kids can create a variety of sentence types across a range of difficulty. A simple game format makes it easy to create sentences, but the cartoonish animations may not motivate all kids in the same way.

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What's it about?

SENTENCEBUILDER FOR IPAD uses games to guide kids through the sentence-creation process. After setting up an account, kids can choose the level at which they'd like to start. They also can choose the module they'd like to play and how often they want to view animations. Parents can create and manage multiple accounts within the app.

During the game, kids see a picture and a word-selector tool, which they use to choose the words to describe what they see. There are correct and incorrect combinations, and kids move the selectors to form a grammatically correct sentence. Details play an important role. For example, if a clown is juggling three balls, the sentence "the clown is juggling four balls" won't fly. Stats track the number of sentences attempted, as well as the number of correct sentences on the first, second, and third attempts. However, the app doesn't measure success with specific parts of speech or grammatical concepts like subject-verb agreement.

Is it any good?

SentenceBuilder for iPad can be a valuable way to help emerging readers and writers learn to create grammatically correct sentences. Also, although the app won't teach it directly, kids can pick up some of the important grammar skills that people tend to pick up more implicitly, simply through reading and using language. Often, reading and conversing with others are the best ways for kids to glean these skills. However, where books and conversations don't always give feedback on mistakes, SentenceBuilder for iPad can help support kids as they learn the thought process behind sentence-building.

Unfortunately, the design lacks a bit of polish and pizzazz. Pictures designed to accompany the sentences resemble low-quality clip art. Also, some cheesy animations designed to motivate kids have no relevance to the sentences and seem a bit haphazardly placed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Using meaningful events from your kids' lives, write out words on index cards and have kids arrange them into sentences.

  • Play the app along with kids -- help them with feedback as they work to form grammatically correct sentences.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, reading, writing, writing clearly
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, part-whole relationships
    Communication: conveying messages effectively
  • Price: $5.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: June 5, 2013
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 80.60 MB
  • Publisher: Mobile Education Store LLC
  • Version: 1.9
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.1 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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