For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

TOS Review - Ooka Island

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Ooka Island is an early literacy computer program for Pre-K to grade 2 students. It is a downloadable program that requires lots of computer space and an internet connection when playing the game. It can be downloaded on both PC and Mac. It is interactive and a visually very attractive program.

Price: They offer family pricing and school pricing. For a family  the range is $12.95/month to $99.95/year for one child, and $19.95/month to $129.95/year for a family of up to 4 kids.

What is Ooka Island exactly?

From their website you can read:


"Ooka Island Adventure is a downloadable hero-mission in 3D designed to teach young children how to read fluently and well. The Ooka Island Adventure combines the highly engaging components of a state-of-the-art virtual world with the scientifically proven OokaMethod that builds literacy skills.


Carefully embedded within the Ooka Island Adventure are dozens of interactive instructional activities that captivate the child and motivate them as they learn essential pre-reading, reading, spelling, and writing skills. After completing the Ooka Island Adventure, children will be on their way to reading fluently and well for life."


What is the Ooka Method?

"With the OokaMethod, children progress to the most sophisticated phonological level. First, they must understand that words are made up of individual sounds (or phonemes) that they can hear and manipulate. Second, they learn to associate these sounds with letters and blend them together to make words, thus breaking the code that speeds them through the foundational levels of reading development and beyond.The OokaMethod includes the language-rich Ooka Island Book Series with comprehension and vocabulary activities. Children progress through a leveled and sequenced flow of books that follow recurring characters in familiar, every day activities. Children then bring their own language knowledge to the reading process and emerge into reading while developing vocabulary and reading comprehension.


Every child should have the opportunity to learn how to read fluently and well, the Ooka Island way!"




[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoJRegbfKwY&feature=player_embedded [/youtube]

 



[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBuOhjJgRVc&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

 

On their website you can check out their guidebooks and explore the island on which the whole adventure takes place  with the snapshots provided.

As you can see Ooka Island is a well researched program. It seeks to help the child master the building blocks of good literacy through engaging games and play.  I have to say that I can attest that they did a quite good job in doing just that. The games are engaging and very educational. You learn your sounds, you learn your phonemes, you learn to associate words to sounds, you learn to read and understand what you read.

The levels build on each other and there is enough repetition to help the learning stick.

Although this program is great for kids that have not started to read, kids that are just starting, need more practice or are struggling readers, a very advanced reader could potentially enjoy this program as well, as did my soon to be 8 year old. I liked him playing on Ooka Island as he can use some more practice on his sound to phoneme recognitions. Interestingly enough the Cave of Sound was the part he did not like as it was challenging for him.  At the higher levels, for example he had to recognize and type in sounds like "aw", "ow", "au" (he absolutely hates spelling). I can see the potential of this program in developing good spellers.

For some reason, which I am not sure I understand, my 6 year old, who also knows how to read, did not enjoy it at all. It would seem it has to do with the repetition, which in my opinion is a plus for this kind of learning.

Overall I would recommend this program to any parent who wants to have their child start to read and any parent who is seeking to improve their child's reading ability and fluency.

The company offers lots of extras to the program as well, such as all the books in the program in print for purchase, free coloring pages, a blog to keep up with innovations

Right now, as a newly launched program, they are offering discounts on their products so hop on over and check it out.

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You can check what other TOS crew members have to say about Ooka Island here.

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Disclosure: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was offered a 6 month subscription to Ooka Island in exchange for an honest review of their product.

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