Monday, May 6, 2013

Mosaic Reviews: Ooka Island Adventure

If you ever have talked with me about teaching your child to read, I recommend one resource every time. (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons)  So, when I heard I would receive Ooka Island Adventure to review, I wasn't really jumping up and down about it.  One-on-one is my preferred method.    We also try to limit how much screen time our children have-even educational.   I went into this review with great reservations for how it would help/affect our reading instruction.  With that being said, I was greatly surprised and impressed with our trial subscription of Ooka Island Adventure.

Ooka Island Adventure was developed through the extensive research of its' founder, Dr. Kay MacPhee.  She developed small group reading programs and wanted to transfer her knowledge to technology to reach a wider audience.  She has seen the correlation between speaking well and reading well.  It's impressive that there are over 6000 skills to master in this program.  Dr. MacPhee insisted on including some kind of resource for parents to use offline for reinforcement of skills learned in the game.    Ooka Island Adventure is a learn-to-read game for ages 3-7. 

What we like:

  • Offline component-  Ooka Island Adventure is a reading program that works as a self-contained app on your computer.  I had the choice to receive a CD-Rom or USB drive to download the program onto my computer.  There is an online and offline component, so you don't have to worry about your child's safety on the internet or load time.   Basically, the program communicates information via the internet (progress) but your child plays offline.  
  • Adaptability- This program adapts itself to your child's ability.
  • Resources for hands-on work- There are workbooks that go with each book your child reads online.  It gives you the opportunity to reinforce the learning before moving on.  There are book paths for your child to hang up and mark their progress.  Every time Michael reads a book, he puts a sticker on his book path.  He does this automatically now and gets so excited to see how far down the path he is.

  • Progress Reports-  When Michael reads a book, I receive an email telling me he's completed a book with the book's description for the purpose of discussion.  I can also go to the Ooka Island website and log in to the Lighthouse.  There I find progress reports- the report card, reading comprehension, accuracy analysis, and book progress reports.  It lets you see specifically how your child is doing.  Here are some sample reports:
 The Ooka Island Report Card

  • Fun--  Your child gets to play all kinds of fun games like The Cave of Sounds, Bubbly Trubbly, and The Cake Factory.  Picture passwords- Each student is assigned a picture password.  So when they log in, they click on their assigned picture for the password.  We just thought this was cute!  Michael loved this part.  Each player has their own elf-like avatar that they can earn points to buy clothes, accessories, etc.  And of course, there's the quirky music that kids really enjoy!
  • Directed learning-  In the past when my kids have played educational games, they tend to skip to the games or parts they liked best.  In Ooka Island Adventure you have to follow around your robot helper (Zobot) to various activities on the island.  When you complete an activity, Zobot moves on to another place and your child follows.  It is not until they complete a book that they receive free play.  I have to say this is genius!  Michael could not just choose what he preferred to do, but what would build skills in lots of different ways.
  • Verbal component-  While using Ooka Island, our one-on-one reading time became more consistent and Michael started trying to sound out words throughout the day. Ooka Island encourages players to sound out words and repeat the individual sounds.  

What we struggle with:
  • Technology in general-  I definitely prefer one-on-one reading instruction versus an online program.  This really concerned me until I realized that the two can work together to achieve the ultimate goal--a fluent reader. 
Here's an offer that might help even more:  

If you order your subscription to Ooka Island before June 1st, 2013, you will not only get 37 % off any annual subscription...but you will also get an ADDITIONAL 30 % off any MONTHLY or ANNUAL subscription!!!   Click HERE to take advantage of this generous offer from Ooka Island Adventure!

Interested and want to see even more?  Here's a video tour of Ooka Island Adventure  or visit the program features' page to read more!


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