Saturday, May 11, 2013

Come Along to Ooka Island! Mosaic Reviews

3630 Woodbine Rd.
Woodbine, MD  21797

Sign Up here
Ooka Island Bookstore
Powerpoint explaining the program

Have you heard of Ooka Island?  It's not on any map you've checked out.  It's a great learn-to-read online program for kids in Pre-K through Second grade.  We've been spending some quality time getting to know the island to write up this Mosaic Review.  Let me tell you a bit about it.  It's Ooka-riffic!

This program includes instruction, a narrated e-Reader and progress reports in real-time.  Children visit a 3D virtual world which contains various sites to visit in order to learn phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.  The various places that children visit on the Island include:

  • Alphabet Mountain  (identify and sequence letters of the alphabet)
  • Bubbly Trubbly (letter/sound correspondence)
  • Cake Factory (letter/sound recognition, blending and decoding)
  • Cave of Sounds (auditory recognition of letter sounds)
  • Clumsy Whacky (blending sounds/words/rhymes)
  • Submarine Listening (identifying vowel sounds)
  • Word Ball (auditory discrimination between syllables and words)
Additional resources available include activity pages, motivational tools, Ooka Island Workbooks, Ooka Tunes (Sing-Along Songs app), and Reading Heroes.

Activity Page

Activity Page
The online Ooka Island Adventure program can be used alone or as part of a "blended" learning experience by using printed components (offline) such as books, guides, lesson plans, sentence strips, consumable workbooks, and story game cards.  The total adventure program contains about 80 hours of "learning to read" time, and by the end your child is reading at second grade level.

The free downloadable Ooka Island workbooks provide hands-on activities including word identification, sentence construction, sequencing, and story comprehension.  Your child can use these with the e-Books in The Ooka Island Adventure as well as the paperback library from the Ooka Island Books Series.  Who doesn't love free?!

The Ooka Island print programs consists of 95 books that are leveled from Pre-K to 2nd grade.  The first 85 are also in e-Book format on the Island website.  The last 10 books are only available in print.  For guides and story game cards click here.  More motivational tools can be found here.

The three parts of the Ooka Island Learn-to-Read System include Guided Play, e-Reader, and Free Play.  Now that I've told you a bit about the island and additional resources, here's a bit about the Free Play options.  After about 20 minutes of learning games your child gets "Free Play" time.  During that time they are able to go anywhere on the island that is "unlocked" and play again.  They can also read their found books again, visit the Trophy Room, or visit the Mist Mart.

The Mist Mart is a fun feature.  While progressing on their adventure your children earn "Ooka Mist", the island equivalency of currency, which they can spend at the Mist Mart to get clothing and costumes for their avatar.   There is also playground equipment, wallpaper and flooring available.  Your children can also purchase Ooka Tunes music.  (The Ooka Tunes Music is also available as an app.)  There is even a Zopet (dog-like critter) which can be purchased after your child reaches the top of Alphabet Mountain.  Don't forget to have your child purchase teddy bears too!  There's a lot more to explore and purchase at the Mist Mart too.

In addition to the Ooka Island activities, there is also an Ooka Lighthouse Reporting System which allows parents and teachers to see real-time progress reports on things such as the number of books unlocked, the time played in the program, the current level, level score and average percentage for each activity.  While at the Lighthouse parents can check out a Report Card, a Reading Comprehension Report, an Accuracy Analysis Report and a Book Progress Report.  (After 20 minutes of game play on the Island, children visit the Popcorn Library and read a book twice, complete a comprehension activity and a concept of word activity.  While the child completes questions the answers are recorded in the Lighthouse.)

I'm sure you're probably thinking by now that the program sounds interesting but find yourself wondering if it's affordable.  Actually, it's quite affordable compared to a lot of other options.  The Homeschool Edition prices are included below, and prices and options for schools are available by contacting the folks at Ooka.  If you figure out what you'd pay for books, workbooks, guides, testing, an E-reader and other components to get a total program from another company, I'm pretty sure you'll see what a great deal this program is to ensure that your child learns to read.

Homeschool Edition 
Family (up to 4 students)     
$19.95/month or $149.95/year

Individual (1 student)

$12.95/month or $124.95/year

Click here for discount

Keep or Toss?  How did it work for us?

This program is definitely a hit at our house.  Our beginning reader loves the games and is learning the material very quickly.  He begs to get on my laptop to play.  The silly kid has fun and doesn't even realize he's reading.  He's doing quite well and actually beginning to read at other times too.  This is huge since he's not very interested in sitting still to learn to read.  I love watching him make connections and figure things out.  He doesn't really have a favorite part of the island. He loves all of it.  He loves the characters, the songs, the games, and the free time activities.  He also loves that it is something that he gets to do by himself, for the most part.  He loves his "special" computer game time with mom.

One of things he gets excited about is the ride through the Cave of Sounds, which is quite a bit like a roller coaster in his mind.  After the ride he also gets quite excited to use the magnifying glass to find letters that make the sound he's heard.  He also loves the Alphabet Mountain climbing game.  After he reaches the alphabet level for the section he's completing, he loves cruising on the skateboard run at top speed.  Popping bubbles and decorating cakes are also great fun for my little guy.

I really appreciate the 20 minute learning followed by free time.  It allows a little time for the information to sink in while giving him incentive to continue moving forward in the program.  Although you can set it up to be about 1/2 hour for computer and activity time, we end up on the program for 1-3 of the 20 minute learning sessions at a time.  We're accomplishing a lot in a relatively short amount of time.

The only downside I've run into actually has nothing to do with the program.  Our internet is prepaid for a certain amount of data per month.  The program does eat up that data fairly quickly, and, therefore, we've limited our use more than if we had unlimited internet.  That is somewhat of a bummer for both the little guy and this mom.  That said, we enjoy the time that we do spend on the island, and we have taken the laptop elsewhere to visit the island too.  I'm glad we have the printable workbooks and motivational tools to use too since we are limiting the online time.

Will we continue to use Ooka after this review?  I think we probably will for at least a short while.  It has provided a fun start to reading in our house.  Will we purchase it monthly or yearly?  I'm not sure yet, but I'm seriously considering at least monthly for a while.  This program is definitely worth the cost and the time!  As you'd see on the Island, jump, spin, fist pump, and, of course, we'll say it loud and say it proud!  

Visit Mosaic Reviews to see what the rest of the team had to say about Ooka Island.

No comments:

Some Great Links

Blog Button photo BlogButton_zps9d4cfbd4.jpg Mama Jenn