Let me start off apologizing for the delay in this review. We have had a massive family crisis and blogging had to take a back seat. I’m trying to get caught up.
My girls love computer games. They love their Leapster Explorers and learning through games like that. So I was thrilled that I got to try Ooka Island Adventure. To say my girls really enjoy playing it is an understatement. They beg to have time on it, especially the Beans (she’s 5).
Ooka Island is a computer game, based online that was designed to assist you in teaching your Pre-K to 2nd grade child reading skills in a very fun and engaging manner. Your child has what amounts to quests to complete in guided play that teaches the letter sounds and how to blend, comprehension of books and reading and then some free play where they get to play with the Ooka Elves that they have rescued by reading books. Let me tell you, Beans especially loved rescuing her elves, playing with Zobot and completing tasks in the game. Each time she completed a new game, she would come running to me excitedly exclaiming about what she had done. I have never seen her so excited to learn new things like this before (and in fact, she didn’t realize she was learning phonics…). Beans is recognizing words she has seen in Ooka Island when she is doing other things and gets excited because she knows what these words say. My eldest enjoyed playing it too (6) but she wasn’t quite as exuberant as her sister.
Bugs did play it, and she did enjoy it. She loved climbing the Alphabet Mountain and then getting to skate down it. She knew it was a school game so that tempered her enthusiasm a wee bit. However, the results I have seen in here were more than I hoped for. For the first time, after about a week of playing the game (she knew all her standard phonics sounds but had gotten hung up on sounding out words. She has a tendency towards perfectionism in her school work and if she can’t do it perfectly the first time, she gets frustrated and angry. This game helped her work on blending and for the first time ever since she has started using this game she has sat down with a book on her own and sounded out the words she didn’t know in it without becoming upset when she hit one she had some issues with! For that, this program is worth it to me).
Ooka Island, on top of being an interactive online game also has books for you to download as part of your experience with it, it tracks your children’s progress through the program and gives you reports on how they are doing, you can have it set up to email you when they read new books. And the girls loved it because I could send them messages to receive whenever they logged on. It thrilled them to see what message they were getting that day.
I love how Ooka Island builds upon your child’s skills as they master them, while still having practice in what they have already learned. It grabbed both of my children’s attention, and they have both grown in their reading skills beyond what I had hoped for in an online reading program. For the most part, I have never been a big fan of online learning for ones so young and prefer to drastically limit my children’s screen time. However, Ooka Island has made me rethink some of that. Online learning at this age, if controlled and counter-acted with plenty of time outside can be beneficial. The learning is fun, engaged the girls better than I had hoped it would and I had results with it. And I will admit, it was nice to be able to let them play on Ooka Island while I was able to get some housework done. I appreciate the fact that Ooka Island is something that I can let them play and not have to worry about values being taught through the stories that are contradictory to what we are instilling in our children.
Until June 1, 2023 you can get 30% off a year-long subscription to Ooka Island by clicking on this sentence. That is a pretty good deal since it takes the annual family subscription from 149.95 (for a family for up to four children) to just over 100.00. For a full year’s access, that isn’t too bad for reading instruction help (and perhaps some time to get other stuff done around the house! Not like I advocate screen time as a babysitter, sometimes it does help). Believe me, if I had the spare money right now, I would be taking advantage of this offer so I could extend our subscription because I do like this so much (however, since I can’t, I shall be grateful for the time we’ve had with Ooka Island and the success we have experienced with it and I’ll pinch my homeschooling budget and keep an eye out for a deal to come around again). Yes, it is rare that I want to keep a subscription to an online program of any sort, so you know this program has to be good!