One of the fun things about homeschooling is that while my oldest is beginning college prep reading and writing (see last post), my youngest is just beginning to read. I have found in teaching four children to read that the best programs involve actual books that early readers can learn to read for themselves, rather than just word lists or word/picture flashcards. My first grader is anxious to accumulate more and more whole books that he can read all by himself, and each one he masters gives him a sense of accomplishment and a boost of confidence.
Ooka Island Adventure is a unique downloadable early reading program for 3-7-year-olds. It works on Mac or PC, which is welcome news for us Mac users! To begin with, you must download the game itself, and then you may purchase a subscription to use it online (the download is included in the subscription price). It is a large initial download, but I did not have any problems downloading it or using it. Or should I say, my children did not have any problems. When we first started, I was unable to figure out how to personalize the student's avatar, and I was thinking the program may not be user-friendly. When I unleashed my 6-year-old on it, however, he had his avatar ready to go in a purple superhero suit that he LOVED in a matter of minutes. So apparently, my problem was user-malfunction. You know what they say: if you can't figure out how to work a computer program, ask someone with a doctorate degree or a 10-year-old!!
Once you have logged into the program, the student first plays games on Ooka Island, learning and reinforcing the alphabet and the sounds different letters and blends make. Watch out for the FLIGS, the mischievous flying pigs who like to make trouble all around the island! Your child can play these games as long as he or she wants or needs to in order to learn the sounds and letters, so this is ideal for preschoolers who are just beginning to learn their letters, or for kindergartners and first graders who can move through to the books more quickly. Once your child has earned some books, he may go to the Popcorn Theater on the island, where he may pick any of the books on his bookshelf. The book may first be read with Auntie K and Zobot the robot, who will read the book while highlighting each word, and explain what is on the pages. Then you may read with Zobot, who will just read the book while highlighting each word. Finally, you may read the book completely on your own. The ability to go back to any book on the list and choose to read it by yourself or with help gives children a chance to reinforce their skills. The more your child plays Ooka Island, the larger the library he can build - of books he can read ALL BY HIMSELF!
My son is currently up to 7 books in his Ooka Island library, and if he had his way, this would be his entire 1st Grade curriculum!! The program may be used as part of your homeschool reading curriculum, or as a reading supplement, whether you homeschool or not. You can find more information at http://ookaisland.com/. Pricing is as follows:
Click here to purchase.
To read what other TOS Reviewers have to say about the Ooka Island Adventure, click here.
Disclaimer: I received a free subscription to Ooka Island Adventure for the purpose of a fair review. No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.