Escape to Ooka Island This WinterSaturday, November 21, 2015
It is almost December and the colder temperatures are drawing near. This is always the time of year when I wish we could go on a family vacation to an exotic island and enjoy some outdoor fun in the sun. While we won't be traveling to an island in the Caribbean, my son will still be able to escape the winter weather and travel to Ooka Island, a virtual world where letters and words come to life and children become confident readers.
Ooka Island is a game-based learning program that blends educational games with fundamental reading skills to help children learn to read. Through exploring a super cool island, children must find missing books and return them to the Popcorn Library while rescuing Ooka Elves along the way. One of the first challenges takes place inside Cave of Sounds where they must listen for a sound and tap on the gate to proceed throughout the mine. Once they have arrived at their destination, children must use a magnifying glass to find the letters that make a particular sound. This game was an instant hit with my son, who pretty much loves anything on wheels.
Next up is Alphabet Mountain where children practice the order of letters in the alphabet by tapping on the next letter. Their avatar jumps to that rock until they make it to the top of the mountain and then they hop on a skateboard to enjoy a fun ride down the mountain. They can jump off ramps, do tricks and practice the alphabet along the way. Of course, my son loves 'riding the skateboard.'
My son also harbours a need for speed so Z-Doo is another one of his favourite Ooka Island games. This is where children practice saying each of the 44 sounds in the English language which unlocks the gate and lets them speed around Ooka Bay. My son enjoys speeding up when approaching water ramps or jumping over docks.
Also located in Ooka Bay is the Submarine Listening game where children peer through a periscope and pick the Fligg (flying pig) that is holding the sound that matches what they hear. If they pick the correct one, the Fligg dives into the ocean.
The water fun doesn't end there, though. Ooka Island is home to the Clumsy Wacky Moving Company. In this activity, children must help return the contents of the moving van by blending sounds together and rescuing the item that matches the sound before it floats over the waterfall. This is a great activity for developing phonemic awareness through rhyming words and sound blends.
After playing a variety of games, children will travel under water to find a book that has gone missing from the Popcorn Library. These books are levelled from pre-school to grade 2 and progress in vocabulary, length, layouts, themes and content. Your children can enjoy the reward of their hard 'work' while they sit back and listen to the story. As it is read, the words are highlighted and supported by additional narrative that encourages children to look at the pictures and think about what they are reading. Then their comprehension is tested through Pop and Play where they answer multiple choice questions by popping a balloon, re-tell the story through sequencing and explore synonyms.
Based on 25 years of research, Ooka Island is a clear winner when it comes to unlocking the potential within every child to become a confident reader. Because it is fun and built on game play, even reluctant readers will have fun while developing the required skills that will help them become a strong reader. While it is recommended that they spend 30 minutes on Ooka Island three times a week, we have found that those 30 minutes fly by. My son is always anxious to unlock free play and visit Mist Mart where he gets to spend all of the Ooka Mist he has accumulated and purchase costumes, Zopets, and more. This is a great motivating factor for my son and one of the reasons I believe in gamification. I also love that I receive weekly reports so I can keep track of my son's progress. And did I mention? Ooka Island is Canadian made!
Give the Gift of Reading
Share your love of reading with a budding bookworm in your life by gifting them a subscription to learn to read on Ooka Island!
Available now for the web and iOS, so kids PreK to Grade 2 can play and learn anywhere.
The Gift That Lasts a Lifetime
Built on 25 years of research and scientifically proven teaching methods, Ooka Island is a game based reading program designed to help children become confident readers.
Each subscription provides all-inclusive access to 1000's of educational games and 85 eBooks wrapped in a 24-level adventure.
- STARTER SUBSCRIPTION - $39.99 - Gift a 3 month starter subscription to Ooka Island and jumpstart them into reading. An excellent choice for any kid!
- 1 YEAR PROGRAM - $99.99 - Gift a 12 month subscription and watch them become a confident reader! Recommended to complete program.
- 1 YEAR + FIRST LIBRARY - $149.99 - Gift their first paperback library by bundling the One Year Program with a colourful collection of 11 Ooka books!
Disclosure: I am participating in the Ooka Island Blogger Program and have received special perks. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own.