Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ooka Island (Review)

Ooka Island is a "learn to read" game for children from pre-K to 2nd grade.
 It is software based, not an online program. 

There are three editions:

We are reviewing the "Homeschool" edition.

Our Ooka Island software arrived quickly, and was delivered on a USB drive for Mac.
Installation was a SNAP and it was ready to play in no time at all.

Now...let me give you a little information before I get into the "meat" of my review.
My 7 year old (Troy) has had a VERY difficult time learning to read.
He also gets frustrated with the computer, and does not spend any time on it.
We limit time with electronics in our home, so it is not like he has a lot of "practice" either.
When preparing to do this review, I did not have high hopes. 

Back to my review:

Troy sat anxiously watching as I installed the software and was immediately drawn in by the graphics. He repeatedly asked, "Is it time for me to play yet?".
Finally, it was time. 
He played,
and played,
and played some more.

There are also printable workbooks to go along with the program,
and correspond to the books they read within the program.
We used these to help reinforce the computer learning. 

(Yes, we often do school in our pajamas)

I think the first few days he spent 2-4 hours a day playing.
(I know, I know...that is a lot. However, he was learning and loving it, who am I to argue?)
Immediately I noticed changes in his reading ability. 
I mean after his first day playing it, not after a week or two. 

After several weeks of playing, he has grown by leaps and bounds. 
I swore I would never use a computer based tool for homeschooling,
opting for the more traditional living book method.
Ooka Island is my exception to that rule.
We LOVE it not only because it is fun...
we love it because it does what it is supposed to do,
and that is to teach a child to read. 

Troy begs to play it DAILY!
 (yes, even weekends)

The best feature for me as the parent is the Ooka Island "Lighthouse".
This is what the website says about the "Lighthouse", 
and it explains it better than I could:

"The Ooka Lighthouse Reporting System is an easy-to-use online portal for parents and educators. As young learners travel through the downloadable Ooka Island Learn-to-Read System, account holders can follow along in real-time by logging into the Lighthouse via a web browser.

Current research is emphasizing that academic success in the early years is highly correlated to success in life. In fact, if children can read fluently and well by age seven, the likelihood that they will reach post secondary education doubles. The findings from the Lighthouse Reporting System tell us that children, ages five and above, using the Ooka Island program, can emerge into reading after as little as eight hours spent on the program, and that four-year-olds can emerge into reading within 13 hours. The “Red Line / Blue Line Chart” describes a typical five year old child’s progress on the Ooka Island Learn-to-Read System."
Here is a little video peek at the Ooka Island Adventure:

You can see the pricing here

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