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The Sentence Zone Review by Tina Rice

Bonnie Terry
Bonnie Terry Learning
238 Poet Smith Drive
Auburn, CA 95603
530-888-7160
http://www.bonnieterrylearning.com/

The Sentence Zone, by Bonnie Terry Learning, is an educational game with the goal of making English fun. The object seems simple enough: build a sentence. The Sentence Zone consists of a laminated playing strip, 700 word cards, an advanced vocabulary list, and an instruction sheet. The game is intended for 2 to 6 players and for students in 1st grade and up.

On the instruction sheet there is a link to a video showing the game being played. This video was very helpful to watch AFTER reading the directions. The Sentence Zone consists of 6 levels, beginning with simple sentences consisting of a subject and a verb. Level 6 moves students to complex sentences consisting of a subject, a verb, a subordinating conjunction, and a dependent clause.

Players earn points based on their word choices. Nouns and verbs earn 5 points each, while punctuation and capitalization earn 1 point each. Pronouns, helping/being verbs, adjectives, adverbs, articles, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, and suffixes earn between 1 and 4 points each. The player with the most points wins. Optional directions are also included for solitary play, crossword type games, and more.

The Sentence Zone arrived in a colorful and study cardboard storage box. All I had to do to get ready to play the game was sort the cards by color and read the directions--very simple if you ask me. This game was not designed specifically for homeschool students, but it will fit into any type of learning program (classical to unschooling). I am using it with my 4th and 8th grade children as well as in the Writing 2 class I teach at my homeschool co-op. It fits in well in both settings.

I have a struggling learner and work with students of all abilities. The Sentence Zone is appropriate for all of the students I work with. I like that it can be used with any English program and does not require special equipment or supplies.

If I could change anything about The Sentence Zone, I would add the point value for each part of speech onto the game strip. It was annoying to have to get the directions out to score the game. This is an easy thing to fix--a bit of tape with the point value can be added to the strip. (I tried a Sharpie but it smudged on the glossy surface.) I also feel that the price of $67 is much too high for this game. I would not have paid that much for it. I could see paying $30, but I feel that most families can't afford $67 for a product that is not a complete subject. It is too bad the price is so high because the product is a good one and could benefit many students. I am reluctant to recommend even a great product that costs so much.

Product review by Tina Rice, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010

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