Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ooka Island

So, parents, let's talk about reading. How's it going? Do you have enthusiastic readers? Not so much? Have you heard of Oooka Island Adventure? No? Well then, pull up a chair, and let's chat.

Ooka Island is an online reading program for kids in the pre-K to 2nd grade range to teach reading, fluency and comprehension. Does that sound boring? ;) If you ask my kids, they will be quick to tell you...Nope!

The fun - especially as far as my daughters are concerned- begins with the creation of their own avatar. Woohoo! Pick your favorite hair color, eye color, skin color, then dress her (or him) up. Our avatar was a crazy looking blue supergirl. Really cool ;)

The program is set up to take your child through a lesson that lasts about 20 minutes. They are then rewarded with 8 minutes of free play time, and then another lesson starts. Let's talk about the lessons.

Your mission is to unlock a series of books through the completion of various learning activities. Take a train-like ride through the cave of sounds, which allows you to progress as you identify the correct sounds being pronounced. Once you've completed the journey, use a magnifying glass to find the hiding letters.
Visit the popcorn library and take out a book to read aloud with the Ooka pals. Then complete the various reading activities that go along with it.
 Climb up alphabet mountain, and put the letters in their correct order. When you reach the top, skateboard all the way down, and perform a few tricks along the way. That game was the very favorite of my little ladies!
Or, help the Crazy Wacky moving company after the Ooka elves leave the back of the moving van open, dumping its contents into the nearby river. Retrieve the objects with the correct sounds before they go over the waterfall!
There's even more than that! Ooka Island really makes learning to read a fun experience :)

Now, this is a BIG download folks, we're talking over 2GB! It took me about 4 hours to download on my high speed computer! There is a lot here. 85 digital books, 3D graphics, and more, so, be patient and you'll get there :)

What's the price? Here you go...

Generally speaking, my kids really liked this program. My youngest has asked to use it first thing every morning since we began. We did have a few issues during our our trial period though.
I mentioned before that Ooka Island Adventure is geared for pre-K to 2nd grade. My girls are in 1st and 2nd grade respectively. They were already well along in their reading when we started, but, practice makes perfect, right? Anyway, as I also mentioned briefly, the lessons last 20 minutes (which I think is a stretch for preschoolers, let alone 1st and 2nd graders), and my oldest became bored with having to complete the basic lessons for so long since she already knew the material.

 The biggest point of frustration was in the Popcorn Library, where it was required to read the same book many times in a row before being allowed to move on. We had a few tears over that one.
The other issue was a minor one regarding the volume. In several different parts of the program, the volume is much too low, even with ours turned all the way up. The other times it's fine. I have no idea why it worked that way, but as I said, it was a very small thing.

As for our family the pros outweighed the cons, and if you have a preschooler in your home ready to begin reading, Ooka Island Adventure would be worth checking out. So, why don't you?

Ooka Island Adventure
Ages: Pre-K - 2nd Grade
Price: INDIVIDUAL -$12.95/month  $59.95/6 mos.  $99.95/year
FAMILY - (up to 4 log ins) $19.95/month $99.95/6 mos. $129.95/year

**I received a free subscription to Ooka Island Adventure in return for my honest review of the program, with no additional compensation.**

See what my crew mates had to say about Ooka Island Adventure here...

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