Learning to read is one of the most important things a person will ever do. Teaching your child to read can be a scary venture, but it doesn’t have to be. Programs like Ooka Island Adventure are now available to help, and most of the time the child doesn’t even know that they are learning.
Ooka Island Adventure was developed in the 1990s by Dr. Kay McPhee, a reading specialist who frequently worked with struggling readers. The program has since expanded to include emergent and gifted readers.
Ooka Island Adventure works by “Learning Flow”, meaning the child has to do certain things in a certain order.
First: The child has a guided mission to rescue a book. The book may be floating in the ocean, for example, and your child is guided through 20 minutes of play to rescue the book. This portion of the program focuses on phonics.
Second: Once the book is rescued the child visits the Popcorn Library where the librarian presents the book to him. The books begin as simple emergent readers but the difficulty increases as the child progresses. There are currently 85 leveled readers on the “Reading Path”.
Third: Free Play. This is the best part of the program according to my son. During Free Play your child can explore Ooka Island, re-read books and play more games.
I installed the program and let my youngest son at it. A little background, G-man is 6.5 and has some physical developmental delays but is beginning to read on his own. He’s very intelligent but has the temper and attention span of a 2 or 3 year old. We already use two reading programs that we’re happy with (one for in-person learning and one for online reinforcement) but since he loves the virtual world concept (he’s a little Minecraft addict) we thought Ooka Island Adventure would be a good game to introduce during computer time.
The biggest signal of a good program, to me, is the fact that my son is still playing it after a month. Most online games keep his interest for a week, maybe two weeks, and then he’s done with it. He’s been using Ooka Island Adventure for just over a month and it’s still interesting to him.
Ooka Island Adventure has special pricing for homeschooling families:
What I like about Ooka Island Adventure:
-The Island is a safe virtual world, there is no internet access and no chatting
-I am emailed every time my child reads a new book, making it easier for me to keep track of what he’s doing.
What I love about Ooka island Adventure:
-When G-man feels like coloring I can easily print an activity page to go with the books featured in Ooka Island.
-Little man loves the certificate he gets when he finishes a book, and he loves being called “Hero”
What I’m not crazy about:
-The program is on the expensive side but when you compare it to other online reading programs it’s not that much more expensive and you get a whole world of fun
-Sometimes it is very difficult for my 6 year old son to sit through the lesson long enough to get to the Free Play stage, which is what he really wants to do.
Would you like to check out Ooka Island Adventure for yourself?