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Grammar, Games

The Sentence Zone
By Bonnie Terry, M.Ed.

Published by Bonnie Terry Learning • 238 Poet Smith Drive, Auburn, CA.  95603 • 530-888-7160 - Available at


by Kyle Zook

Are you looking for a fun way to boost your child’s understanding of English sentence structure? Well, you need look no further than The Sentence Zone. The Sentence Zone is a game that grows along with your child’s understanding of English. With six suggested levels of play, it can accommodate everything from the earliest learners to more advanced students. Consistent use of The Sentence Zone can help your children identify parts of speech easily, dramatically improving their writing ability.

The Sentence Zone
Click to visit Bonne Terry Learning's web site

The game consists of 14 different colored cards indicating the various parts of sentence structure, the simplest being blue for subject (noun) and red for the verb.  The object of the game is look through the cards available and construct a complete sentence. By introducing the other parts of speech you increase the level of difficulty for the game.  There is a colored strip to help identify the cards as they are laid out for the game.

At the simplest level, young children are encouraged merely to try to form complete sentences. Keeping it simple will keep the learning process fun. Using an easy subject-verb construction, you can use this to introduce more complex ideas with the game, and as your student advances, you can use other cards like adjectives and adverbs to describe these simpler parts of speech.

Older learners should be encouraged to build more complex sentences using coordination conjunctions and punctuation. At these levels you can award points for sentences, thus rewarding more complex constructions. You can also set the level of the construction to be achieved, from varying degrees of complexity. You can choose the number of rounds to play, and when each player has completed the requisite number of sentences, the player with the highest score “wins.” Of course, when you’re learning, everyone wins!

What’s great about this game is that it grows with your learners, so you’ll find it has a long shelf life, easily accommodating students at a sixth grade learning level and beyond.  The Sentence Zone can even be played alone, with the learner keeping track of his or her score from day to day.

Another way to use The Sentence Zone is to spread the cards on the floor and use them to link sentences together, like a crossword puzzle. Particularly creative or interesting sentences could also be turned into expanded writing topics.  The Sentence Zone is a learning tool whose only limitation is your own creativity. K.Z.

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