I was first introduced to Ooka Island in November of 2011. If you click here, you can read my first review of Ooka Island. We loved it then, and we still love it now. So what is Ooka Island Adventure? Well, here's a 45 second video that explains it:
Basically, Ooka Island Adventure is computer software that plays like a game and can teach a 5 year old child to begin reading after just 8 hours of instruction, or provide continuing reading instruction for students through 2nd grade. It can be used for schools, home reinforcement, or homeschool. Ooka Island is aligned with the much-publicized Common Core Standards, although having reviewed the program before the CCSI became a "thing", I can tell you I don't notice any differences. Your child plays Ooka Island on your computer, but their progress is backed up on the web, allowing them to play it on any computer the program is installed on without loosing their place. Here's a little more about the game directly from their site:
Ooka Island’s Learn-to-Read System for children ages 3-7 will ensure skill mastery in the five pillars of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Ooka Island is a revolutionary reading platform for PC and Mac that tutors your child through a compelling, yet robust curriculum and adapts to his or her strengths and weaknesses as they move along the path to fluent reading.
Ooka Island uses several different components for instruction. First, they use catchy tunes (available free as an app, by the way). They also have different games that each focus on a different skill in reading like visually identifying letters that form sounds they hear or even them speaking the sound aloud that they see on the screen. Your child's positive progress earns them in game recognition and also allows them to save "Ooka Elves". And as they progress, your child unlocks books to read and answers questions about them. Here's a printable resource that track the books they unlock:
There are also printable workbooks that go with the different stories so you child can do tangible work to reinforce what they do virtually.
Finally, there is the Lighthouse- a parent specific area where you can find the printables I mentioned above, but also where you can see your child's progress through the different skills that go with the lessons. You can view a report card, like the one below, to tell you exactly how your child is doing:
The pros: My daughter really likes Ooak Island. She in now at the upper age for the software (8, but in second grade), but she is a delayed reader, and still needs many of the lessons Ooka Island teaches. Because she is not very interested in formal reading lessons, any tool I can use like Ooka Island that makes reading fun is a blessing. She does Ooka Island without complaint, and I am one happy mamma. We love Ooka Island in this house! And since my last review, it's only gotten better. I love the reports and printables in the Lighthouse, and also the fact that my daughter can play it on multiple computers.
The cons: In my previous review, I mentioned what a large download Ooka Island is, but this time, we received it on a thumb drive, which was brilliant. It installed quickly and easily. My only con would be the pricing. At $12.95 a month for one child or $19.95 for a family (up to 4 students), it can add up. There is yearly pricing available ($124.95 and $149.95 respectively) that gives a discount over the per-month fee, but it still can be a bit expensive for some families. (There is a promotion right now where you can get up to 30% off the fee though.)
To give Ooka Island a try, so to the Ooka Island website. To see what other members of the Mosaic Review team had to say, check out the Mosaic Reviews blog.