Shake-a-Phrase: Fun with Words and Sentences

App review by
Stacy Zeiger, Common Sense Media
Shake-a-Phrase: Fun with Words and Sentences App Poster Image
Silly sentences promote creative-writing and 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 and practice grammar and vocabulary in a fun way as they read a wide variety of silly sentences and identify the parts of speech they contain. Within each sentence, kids can tap on key words to see their definitions and parts of speech. Story starters also provide them with inspiration for writing silly sentences and creative stories of their own. Shake-a-Phrase's silly sentences and shaking action engage kids in grammar, vocabulary, and creative writing.

Ease of Play

Icons on the main page clearly identify the three modes of play: Shake It, Quiz Me, and Story Starter. Once you're in the app, it takes some exploring to figure out other options such as changing the theme, choosing the quiz settings, and marking favorite sentences.

Violence

Mild violence may appear in a few of the randomly generated phrases.

Sex
Language

A few iffy words such as "idiotic" appear in some phrases.

Consumerism

The app includes brief references to the developer's other apps with a link to purchase them.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shake-a-Phrase helps kids have fun with the English language. It uses silly sentences such as "The kind-hearted stranger greeted a frantic cactus" to help kids learn more about English. Three modes of play mean it's not limited to one skill, either. Kids can build creative-writing skills, learn new vocabulary words, and identify the parts of speech. Quiz options can be set to slowly introduce kids to nouns, adjectives, and conjunctions, for example.

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What's it about?

SHAKE-A-PHRASE offers three modes of play: Shake It, Quiz Me, and Story Starter. Kids also can select one of five themes: animals, fairy tale, monsters, sports, and shake starter. In Shake It mode, they see a silly sentence and can click on words to see their definitions. Story Starter takes those silly sentences and turns them into...silly story starters, such as "What would happen if a hysterical chicken hugged an excited fashion designer?" Quiz Me mode focuses on identifying the basic parts of speech; kids see a sentence and must identify the nouns, verbs, adjectives, or conjunctions. The settings tab allows kids and parents to choose the parts of speech included in the Quiz Me game.

Is it any good?

Kids will enjoy learning about sentence structure and the parts of speech using Shake-a-Phrase. Features such as silly sound effects and the ability to shake their devices to generate a new sentence will capture kids' attention. Options such as the ability to choose from three games and view questions connected to a specific theme help keep their attention. Parents and teachers will appreciate the complex sentences full of descriptive adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, and nontraditional verbs. Occasionally the randomly generated sentence may not make sense. When that happens, kids can simply shake the app and receive a new one.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Create your own silly sentences and ask kids to identify the parts of speech or define the words.

  • Encourage kids to use the story starters to write their own creative stories, and show your support by reading their creations.

App details

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