When I was growing up, we played outside, read books, maybe watched the Sunday night Disney movie, and had to do our schoolwork on paper. Though the first few things were fun, doing schoolwork wasn't always an enjoyable activity : - ) That was because it was always the same thing - paper, pencil or pen, and my hand getting really tired. But with the technology that is available to our children now, school work doesn't have to be boring & it can be done at home, in the car, or even on a plane. Programs that are available for the computer, gaming systems, and the portable systems are accessible everywhere.

One such program is Rainbow Sentences by Mobile Education. This is a downloadable program for the iPad that is available right from the iTunes store.
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So what is Rainbow Sentences? It is a game that helps "students improve their ability to construct grammatically correct sentences by using color coded visual cues." The parts of sentences are color coded, which aids the students in recognizing the who, what, where, and why of the sentence; & increases the students understanding of how those word parts work together to form sentences.

How it works: once the app is downloaded, you (or your child) can easily set it up according to your child's level. There are 3 levels to choose from, with level 3 having more complex sentences. There is also an option to have the lines colored and words grouped, depending on each individual child's needs.

Once the game starts, the student is given a picture along with words at the bottom and empty lines at the top. The student must place the words on the correct lines to form a sentence, using all of the words. As the levels progress, more words are added to increase the complexity of the sentence. You can watch the video below to see the tutorial:

As you can see, the program is incredibly easily to set up, and it can actually be fun to play. Because the words can be colorcoded & spoken, even a child that doesn't read well yet can learn while they are playing. For those that are learning to read, being able to hear the word spoken can give them confidence in their ability to sound words out. As the student plays, the words are sounded out and he can determine if the sentence sounds right, as well as determining the right word placement. As the game is played, the player gets a piece added to a special puzzle. Once all pieces are obtained and the puzzle is complete, it becomes an animated video that's fun to watch. 

Below are a few screen shots. You can see the various steps as the player adds the words to the sentence line. When all the words are correct (bottom left), the player has the option of recording the sentence in his/her own voice. The bottom right picture shows a sample of the puzzle at level 1. Your child will be excited with each accomplishment as they receive a new puzzle piece, until the whole puzzle is complete and they can watch it come to life!
Features of Rainbow Sentences:
  • 165 images to create sentence from
  • Intuitive drag and drop to create sentences
  • Words are spoken as they are being dragged for non readers
  • Words can be color coded for added visual support
  • Word groups can be selected to simplify sentence construction
  • 6 levels of sentence complexity
  • Pictograph lessons to help students learn proper sentence construction
  • Record feature allows students to record sentences in their own voice
  • Save and email recorded sentences
  • Students earn puzzle pieces during play to encourage continued play
  • Puzzles come to life once level is complete



Our opinion of this app? We liked it. It's simple to set up and easy to use. My son (12yo & a struggling reader) was able to use it by himself. Though he started at level 1 to try it out, he moved to level 3 that day. When he initially began level 3, he did use the color coded words & lines and struggled some with getting the words in the right order. Once he figured out how the colors of the words matched the color of the lines, it became easier. Another feature that the app uses is that, with each level, the first word of the sentence is capitalized, and the last word has a period after it. This may seem to simplify the process too much, but it actually reinforces the rules of capitalization and punctuation. I liked that. Plus, it gave him a place to start if he wasn't sure. After a few sentences, he changed the settings to color-code off because he thought "that made it too easy". I was happy with him just using it, but then to hear him say he wanted it harder was music to my ears. He played the game right along without giving me a hard time, despite that he doesn't like school work. He kept playing because he wanted to get all the pieces to the puzzle.

What he didn't like was that once he earned all the puzzle pieces, there were no other puzzles at that level to make. Each level has just one puzzle. So now he can still play the game, but there is no goal to reach. Because he completed the puzzle fairly fast (it's only 5 sentences per puzzle piece & 12 puzzle pieces all together), he doesn't have the motivation to play anymore. 

What I thought could be different is that, though the purpose of the app is to help the child learn the parts of sentences, there really isn't any lesson that teaches what parts of speech each word is. There is an option to watch the lesson, (see above right pic) but it describes only "first we need to know who or what the sentence is about, then. . . what. . . , lastly. . . where. . .". The lesson doesn't state noun or verb, but who & what it's doing. This is fine for early elementary grades, but the lessons do not advance with each level.

Overall, this is a great app. It's not just a mindless game, there are actually lessons learned and skills enhanced. I believe you will like Rainbow Sentences.

Rainbow Sentences can be purchased directly from the iTunes Store for just $7.99
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Disclaimer: I received this product free as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew (formerly known as the TOS Homeschool Crew) with the sole purpose of providing an honest review after using it. For more information on this, please see my disclaimer.
 


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