AppStore User Rating:
The Sentence Builder App helps students develop word recognition, listening, and sentence skills. It presents words in random order, then asks players to drag the words into place to make the narrated sentence.
- Two levels of difficulty
- Multiple sentence patterns
- Record and display pictures for user-created sentences
- Guest access or create user accounts
- Records for multiple users
This app is very well-designed and easy to use. The narration is accurate and paced nicely for young learners. The illustrations for the sentences are clear and easy to understand, and the drag-and-drop interface works well for this activity. Adult users have a great deal of control over the workings of the software, with the ability to skip previously completed sentences, read sentences and words aloud or not, and protect user accounts with a password.
The Sentence Builder App will help younger users practice syntax, grammar, reading comprehension, sight words and more. There are two levels that include many sentence patterns, such as subject-verb-adverb or subject-verb-object. There are sentences that focus on basic vocabulary such as color words and days of the week, as well, and most sections include questions in addition to statements. The upper level includes distractor words that do not belong in the sentences as well as distractor punctuation marks that are not appropriate for the sentence. Users are to listen to the sentences, then drag the words into the correct order to reproduce it. The narration can be turned on and off, changing the task into a reading comprehension exercise. There are records kept for each user of which sentences have been successfully completed.
Users can also create and record their own sentences. This is a huge advantage over similar systems, because you can individualize and personalize assignments to meet student needs. In this way, you could create tasks that are targeted at exactly the right level for the student’s needs.
There are two drawbacks to this system, and both show up in the level two exercises. First of all, the words for selection on level two are always placed on the screen in a pattern. The first word of the sentence is always on the upper left side, the second on the upper right, the third on the upper left, and so forth. Many children will focus on this pattern and use it to solve the assignments without actually learning about syntax, grammar, and word recognition. Secondly, the second level distractor words are always the same from sentence to sentence. This also will detract from the student’s learning as many will quickly figure this out and eliminate the extra words out of hand, especially since they are also in the same locations on the screen for each sentence. These patterns do not seem to show up in the level one sentences, nor are they apparent in the user-created sentences.
While this app is not really intended to be entertaining, children are likely to enjoy using it. It’s fun to hear voices and even more fun to hear recordings of familiar voices. The app provides a brief reinforcement graphic and applause recording when sentences are arranged correctly, as well. The graphics are clear and related to the meaning of the sentences, as well.
This app is a good value, especially since it has the ability to incorporate individualized content. The provided content is a good fit for the intended age group (kindergarten through second grade), and since users can add content, the app will be useful for nearly any setting. It includes over 200 built-in sentences in many different patterns.
This app includes no outside advertising or in-app purchases. The app can be linked and synced to Dropbox. There is a protected area that links to email, the App Store, the internet and social media sites, as well as providing information and connections to the developers. This area, found at the “More” icon on the home screen, is accessed by holding the icon for three seconds. Children can access the settings for the app as well as the user account creation area, though that can be protected by an optional passcode.