Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TOS Review - Ooka Island Books

I first saw Ooka Island advertised in a teaching resource magazine this summer and couldn't wait to try it.  (It met two very important criteria for me:  1.  teaches reading in a very systematic and fun way and 2.  It's set on an island with peppy, Caribbean music as a theme.  My standards are shockingly low.)  When I was chosen to be a reviewer for the program, I was over the moon.  I'll take any help that is offered to teach Julianna to read.  I know, I know.  She WILL learn to read.  Regardless, it haunts this homeschool mama, I'm afraid.  I'm also starting to freak out about her writing, but I will leave that for another day.  Back to the review.

Ooka Island is an interactive literacy program designed for emerging readers Pre-K through 2nd grade.  Their website describes it this way:
The Ooka Island Adventure is a downloadable hero-mission in 3D designed to teach young children how to read fluently and well. The Ooka Island Adventure combines the highly engaging components of a state-of-the-art virtual world with the scientifically proven OokaMethod that builds literacy skills.

Carefully embedded within the Ooka Island Adventure are dozens of interactive instructional activities that captivate the child and motivate them as they learn essential pre-reading, reading, spelling, and writing skills. After completing the Ooka Island Adventure, children will be on their way to reading fluently and well for life.

And it has cool music.

My musings:
I love Ooka Island.  It captures Julianna's attention with it's colorful, interactive games and music. Plus, she loves any game that she can change her person's appearance multiple times per session. The "goal" of the program is to help free the Ooka Elves from the Fliggs (Fliggs = Flying Pigs) that have taken over the island.  Auntie Kay is the one leading the expedition, but your guide through it all is a robot named Zobot.  Zobot is Julianna's arch nemesis.  For some reason she thinks he is working against her instead of helping her through the adventure.  I think it's because for a memory game, you play against him and he won a few hands in the beginning.  That was Zobot's fatal error in judgement.  It might be better if you would play against the Fliggs.  Just a suggestion.  As you work your way through the levels, you unlock new items to use (like clothing, etc.) and new games.  You earn points to buy items in the Mist Mart as well.  For each level, you begin by playing phonological games, then you unlock a new book that is then read to you and comprehension is determined through a question game at the end of the story. 

The only downsides I see are, sometimes the accent of the voice over narrating during some games is a little difficult to understand. I know I have had to listen twice to figure out what he is saying (especially in the Wacky Moving Company game) and the addition of new games within the levels is slow.  In the beginning, Julianna loved the games, but now she is getting tired of them because they are the same ones she started with.  I'm hoping some new ones pop up soon as she is progressing through.

If you have emerging readers or have little ones that need just some added reinforcement, give Ooka Island a try.  They are offering a special launch discount on a monthly subscription.  Yippee! 

Oh, and tell Zobot to watch his back.

**Disclaimer:  As a member of TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a subscription to Ooka Island in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given.**

1 comment:

Miss Riya said...

I am glad to hear that you have gotten some cool free stuff. I am also happy to see that your homeschooling adventure is going a little more smoothly this year. We too have gained some ground in our battle of wills.
Power to the Mommies!!!

You may be happy to hear that I have finally worked my way through my little picture-LESS-blogging problem.