A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
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.
Products & Purchases
An advertisement for Pines to Vines, a digital textbook, appears on the settings screen. In-app purchases (of two additional modules) are encouraged.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.