In honor of National Punctuation Day I thought I’d do something “conventional,” so I decided to post my review of my new iPad app called Grammar Pop. I first became a fan of Grammar Girl’s writing and podcasts years ago when she helped me FINALLY understand the difference between lay and lie.
Last spring I had the pleasure of doing a podcast with Grammar Girl (aka Mignon Fogarty) and she told me she was in the development phase of a new grammar app. Now 14,000 words in countless combinations are available for $1.99 a pop.
Right away I liked the visual layout. On a bright blue screen, bubbles float among word clouds with rainbow colored parts-of-speech buttons to the right. Grammar Girl’s caricature is poised at the left with books hugged to her chest and a ready pencil behind her ear.
I started at level one. The wolves drank appeared in the word clouds. I touched the article, noun and verb button and then selected the corresponding cloud.
Grammar Girl exclaimed and lifted her arm as I completed the first level. I got a “tutor” and later a “professor” rating. Yes, that’s Professor Rader. As I progressed through the levels, new parts of speech were added. At first it stayed simple with helping verbs, adjectives, adverbs and pronouns, but then it advanced to gerunds, participles and infinitives. Grammar Girl’s “no” and “bummer” gave me direct feedback when I needed to reconsider my choices. The sound effects of bubbles popping, coins jingling and Grammar Girl’s exclamations caught my son’s attention and he came over to watch me play.
“How did you know the word ‘today’ was an adverb?” he asked.
“It just made sense in the context of the sentence.”
“Why aren’t you swiping those coins for points?” he asked.
“I guess I missed that. How did you know to do that?
“Uh…because I’m from this generation,” he said.
He took a few turns and enjoyed the game alongside me. We both agreed that the downside of Grammar Pop is it’s habit-forming. Classroom teachers with one or more classroom iPads will want to check it out too. Grammar Pop is to writing what math facts are to computation. The better we understand the basics, the more fun we can have with the complexities of language.
So check it out. Enjoy the game and let me know what you think.