Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Sentence Zone Game: Bonnie Terry Learning

Bonnie Terry is a Learning Disabilities Specialist and a Board Certified Educational Therapist who has over 35 years of teaching experience. After years of being asked where one could purchase the learning tools she had created, she began marketing them through Bonnie Terry Learning, and now they are available for everyone. There are helps for those struggling with learning disabilities, as well as tools for everyone who desires to make learning easier or more enjoyable.

The Sentence Zone game is one of those tools and I'm excited to have received it for review. I absolutely love games that teach. This one takes the exercise most of us hated in school, diagramming sentences, and makes it much more enjoyable. As a relaxed homeschooler, I am more likely to play a game that teaches the parts of speech than to use a workbook or textbook. This is more effective, in my opinion, as my kids tend to learn things they enjoy more quickly than things they dislike.


The game contains a laminated strip, listing the parts of speech. These are color coded to match the parts of speech cards. You place the stacks of card along the strip and the students take turns creating sentences. They also must add a Capital Letter card where needed, as well as proper punctuation. Points are awarded at the end and the student with the highest score, wins. This sounds simple, and it is, but it works. In order to get a higher score, the child must use more words. As they are looking for these words, they are learning the parts of speech. If they decide they want a particular word, they must identify which stack of cards is needed.

My five youngest played this together and we played a more free for all style. Everyone could create their sentence at the same time. This created a bit more competition, as they saw their sibling's sentence grow longer, they added more to their own. My ten year old won the round with the sentence, "I am a purple alligator, so I never eat pie." The thirteen year old was the runner up. His sentence read, "The sinister dragon ran swiftly to retrieve a map." My favorite was from my eight year old. Here is her silly sentence, "The toe ate a pizza and a dinosaur." When told by her siblings that toes cannot eat, she replied that it was a sentence from a Science Fiction story and in her world, toes could eat. She is such her mother's child, I love it!

As we were cleaning up, my children began brainstorming ideas for fun variations of the game. They want to try it again with the silliest sentence receiving bonus points. They'd like to do a round where you must only use the cards on top of the deck. Another idea was to try and create the saddest sentence. There are so many ways you be creative with this game and learn while having fun. It's a simple game but I'm impressed with how well it worked with my family.

The Sentence Zone is available for $67. This does seem a bit pricey to me, although I have to consider that I can use it with all of my children indefinitely. The cards are made out of card stock and will probably be bent quickly. At that price, I would have preferred to see the cards laminated or in some way made a little sturdier.

All in all, I really like this product. I will use it for my family and it will make a wonderful addition to our informal grammar program. When I consider the cost of more formal grammar programs, The Sentence Zone, Mad Libs, and Grammar Songs is an inexpensive way to create a relaxed grammar program for my kids. If you are a relaxed homeschooler, you will enjoy this product. If you are a more formal homeschooler, you will probably enjoy adding this to your studies and helping your children discover the parts of speech in a fun manner.

Update: Right now The Sentence Zone Game is at a special price of $59. I'm not sure if this is a continuing special or not, but wanted to make you aware.

3 comments:

Noel said...

This is an interesting concept, my middle child has a hard time stringing his thoughts out into sentences. I can see where something like this would be a big help.

Lori said...

Noel-
Yeah, I can see many different ways this game could be used. I'm still experiencing a little sticker shock, but I love the game itself and plan to use it with my kids for quite awhile. If you end up deciding to try it out, please let me know how you like it!

Cindy H said...

Hello from a fellow crew mate! This sounds like a great game - too bad it costs so much.

Cindy @ Fenced in Family

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