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May 07 2014 - 08:00 PM
Ooka Island
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Ooka Island is an interactive reading platform for children ages 3-7. The tool uses animated games, engaging activities, and rewards to encourage comprehensive reading skills on five different levels: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension. The reading platform utilizes adaptive instruction techniques like eye-ear reading to familiarize new learners with word recognition and sound-sight cognizance. Children will make their way through a series of levels targeting one of the five comprehensive reading skills, with each level increasing in difficulty as the child develops mastery of the concept. The "learn-to-read" adventure is a colorful, challenging, magical world where learners can improve their reading skills while having fun.

Pros:

Ooka Island is a fun way to improve and reinforce basic reading skills at home or in the classroom. The platform is easy to use, features bright colors and enchanting animations, and has a few affordable pricing options for school or home use. The Ooka adventure feels more like playing a game than learning fundamental reading skills. The platform teaches young users how to identify sounds within a word, word recognition, word formation, and the 44 distinct sounds that can be made with English letters. Ooka Island also offers an analytics dashboard called the "Report Card" for parents and educators who wish to track their child’s progress through the learning journey. This enables parents and teachers to pinpoint areas of weakness or encourage mastery in other skills. The program supports both Mac and PC operating systems and the site has a live chat support function for immediate troubleshooting and problem solving.

Cons:

Ooka Island is not a web-based platform and therefore needs to be installed on a computer, either at home or in the classroom. This severely limits the accessibility of the platform as it can only be accessed on one dedicated computer. This is problematic for users looking for mobile learning capabilities that enable impromptu use of the system, be it at school, the library, an aunt’s house, or elsewhere. The installation process itself can be cumbersome and problematic, as evidenced by the multiple troubleshooting questions in their FAQ section. The platform is not available on tablets or smartphones, once again limiting the accessibility of the program. Also, some of the games and features may be confusing for both children and adults (according to the FAQ).

Our Takeaway:

Ooka Island is an innovative and attractive reading platform for parents and educators looking to improve their child’s reading comprehension. This powerful tool encourages many levels of reading mastery and presents learning in a familiar and entertaining way. A transition to a web-based program as well as tablet/smartphone availability could make this a stellar program, but it is still a great asset to any new reader.

The Bottom Line:

The Ooka Island adventure is a great way to get new readers excited about learning.

Image: Logo via Ooka Island

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|By: Dana Haugh|1154 Reads