In general, the approach to chords in the Rainbow Ukulele books is very flexible. The main focus is on melodic skills, but at every stage there is scope for chord work alongside this. The music is printed with chord symbols, and there are chord diagrams at the back of the books.
The reason for this flexibility is that beginner pupils are so very different from each other when it comes to chords. Some are ready to strum and enjoy ukulele chords from Day One. Others will really struggle to make a good chord sound to begin with – these pupils will be better off focussing on melodies for a while, building up finger strength and co-ordination as they do so.
In Rainbow Ukulele Book 1, chord symbols are provided whenever appropriate and there are chord diagrams at the back of the book. It is left entirely up to the teacher and pupil how much chord playing to do, and at which stage.
Many of the pieces have other kinds of accompaniments too – drones and simple broken-chord patterns. At this technical level, these can often be more fun and interesting than strummed chords – both for the player and the listener.
In Book 2, the approach is similar but at this stage it is fair to assume that the pupil will have some chord mastery. The book goes into a little more detail about how to interpret the chord symbols from a lead sheet, and turn them into interesting accompaniments. The notated arrangements also start to feature strummed and plucked chords, and broken-chord patterns.