My daughter, Morgaine, has been going on a grand online adventure for the past 6 weeks rescuing Ooka Elves. These poor little ones just want to read but the mean fligs won’t let them and now they’ve gotten trapped in Flig Forest. It’s up to Morgaine (or your child) to rescue them and bring them home. She’s been mountain climbing, skateboarding, and boating and is quite enjoying herself in this virtal world. Thanks to the TOS Homeschool Crew (who kindly gave me the opportunity to review this product) and Ooka Island my daughter is starting to read more and more. I certainly cannot complain about that!
Ooka Island is a three dimensional world that your child enters in order to rescue other characters, the Ooka Elves. By completing various learning activities based on the Ooka Method and reading online books (there are A LOT of them) in the popcorn library they help release the elves that are trapped in Flig Forest. Your child is directed from activity to activity by Auntie Kay and Zobot who came to Ooka Island to help the Ooka Elves learn how to read….but shhhh, at the same time they are helping YOUR child! After a certain number of directed activities your child is given 8 minutes of free time where she can go back and play her favorite activities, change her avatar or play with the Ooka Elves she’s rescued. Here’s a little bit more about Ooka Island from the creators (there are MANY more videos available from Ooka Island on youtube and their website so be sure to check them out).
There are a few things I think you should know when you go to purchase this product. First of all, it is HUGE! If you are using dial up then downloading this program will require a tremendous amount of patience (the company does not recommend it). While it is was quite quick on our 15mbps internet connection (about 45 minutes) there were others that had much longer download times. Secondly, this program is still being developed. There were several technical glitches that made the program frustrating at times. The company was very much willing to help me work around most problems. The voice recognition aspect of the program that I was quite eager to use did not appear to be working and we also had some issues in the beginning with the program freezing.There are also features that were expected to be released that still aren’t quite ready (one of them being a way to track you child’s progress).
However, my child LOVES Ooka Island and asks to play on it every day. What’s better is that she is actually starting to read and write more since we’ve starting using this program. I’ve been quite impressed with the progress she has made. The game seems to progress fast enough to hold her attention. There’s been a couple things that she’s pointed out to me that I found interesting to get he perspective on. One is that even if she makes several mistakes the game still tells her she is number one. She kind of laughs at this now and says she should really be number two or three but it the beginning it upset her. If your child depends a lot on positive feedback then this is a good game for them but be aware that they may be making several mistakes and still be told that they are playing perfectly. We both prefer games that give accurate feedback. She is also a little bit disturbed by the Ooka Island story line and thinks “little kids” might not like it. It’s nothing major but if you have a more sensitive child you may want to be aware that the Fligs can be a bit scary for little ones.
Ooka Island can be purchased on and month by moth bases and for one or more children at a time. Here’s a breakdown of the pricing options for homeschooling families/parents that want to auppliment their child’s school lessons:
I believe that this program is well designed and would feel comfortable paying for a year long subscription for my child if all the technical glitches were worked out and there was a way to track my child’s progress. There were times when I felt like I was a beta tester but I truly feel like this game has a lot of potential. The characters are engaging, your child does not get stuck doing the same activities over and over, and the method is sound. My reading resistant little girl is really much more and that makes me happy! If you have a child that quite enjoys online game then I can recommend this one as being safe and educational. For more information be sure to check out the the Ooka Island website and the TOS Homeschool Crew blog to find out more.
**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.