Friday, May 10, 2013

Ooka Island {A Mosaic Review}

I was asked to review a software application called Ooka Island Adventure that helps children ages 3 - 7 learn to read. Though, my youngest is 8 years old - she is always "game" for a fun learning computer application. Ooka Island Adventure ensures skill mastery in five areas of of reading instruction - phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. It is all based in a fun learning environment meant to adapt to your child's strengths and weaknesses.

So, even though Ava Mae was at the top of the recommended age, she loved the various areas of Ooka Island and couldn't wait to have me write this review. In Ava Mae's words "the books were really fun - I enjoyed that I got to read them! I liked the Seashell Sentences and sailing along on Jet Skis and saying the right phonic sound. I also liked I got to create my own hero at the beginning of the game - I even picked her hairstyle. My mom didn't have to help me sign into the game - I would just pick my character and start back where I left off. I really liked earning stickers and I think kids younger than me will love it."

I liked Ooka Island Adventure as I feel it is one teaching tool that has some great science behind it. Here is a little info on their Learning Flow Cycle - 

What is the Learning Flow Cycle?

There are three distinct parts to the learning flow cycle in the Ooka Island Learn-to-Read System. This unique learning flow is what makes Ooka Island so engaging for young learners and keeps them eager to play and learn on Ooka Island.

  1. Guided Play – focuses on phonological / phonic development through skill-building instructional activities.
  2. e-Reader – focuses on concept of word, fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension through the Ooka Island Books Series (85 leveled and sequenced books in total)
  3. Free Play – allows children to play activities that reinforce what they have learned, to reread books from the Popcorn Library, or to do just-for-fun activities.
*Helpful Hint – Children can exit out of Ooka Island at anytime and their progress and spot in the program is saved for the next time they log in.
Many of the computer based phonics programs we have tried out in the past focus on one area of the learning to read process - Ooka Island Adventure covers it all and can have your child reading within 8 hours of beginning the program. I also felt the reporting end of Ooka Island allows parents to keep track of where their child is succeeding or an area they may need extra focus.

The only area we had issue with was technical in nature. My childrens' laptop would not run the program without throwing us out. I contacted Customer Service and they were awesome both in their response time but, also in quickly finding a fix and emailing me a patch to download and install on the computer. It did help, though we have continued to have spells where it would run slow or kick us out after playing for awhile. 

Ooka Island Adventure pricing begins at just $12.95 a month for one student or $19.95 for up to four students. And, I have been given a special coupon code for 30% off  - good through June 1st.

I think this would be a great summer learning activity for your per-schooler through 1st grader!

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