A couple of years ago, I had the chance to review Ooka Island and I was happy to get the opportunity to do so again via Mosaic Reviews. My daughter had loved the program when she was younger and I now had a little one that was getting to be old enough to try it out for himself.
Set up was even easier this time as we were supplied a memory stick with the program included on it. All we had to do was plug in the USB and drag the files into our App folder. A username and password was supplied and we were all set to go! Not much had changed on the website. The theme song was as catchy as ever as it plays through my head as I write this review!
We did run in to some issues this time around as my daughter is getting a little bit too old for this program. While she isn’t a fluent reader, yet, she is more advanced than the early levels of this program. My son, who has just turned 3, is very much ready to learn some basic phonics, but he mouse control wasn’t all that accurate so it was frustrating to him. In the end, I had him tell his older sister what to do and they were able to make it work that way. It was a good exercise in cooperation for them and for that reason, it would have been valuable.
This worked better in the earlier days as my son could get up and point to the things on the screen, but for the last 3 weeks he’s been unable to do so as he fractured his tibia. Just out of his cast, we was still unable to sit on his knees to play for this picture.
However, there are a lot of redeeming characteristics to the actual program itself and I think that is a good program for your early readers that are just beginning to use the computer. The activities are well structured and educational and the free play can be fun, but it well regulated so that your child has to do a fair bit of learning each time before they can play with their rescued characters. Letter and sound recognition is the basis of the game and children have the chance to read short stories and answer comprehension questions. I think this is ideal for early readers, but may be a bit tedious for children that already have good letter/sound recognition. When my daughter was just learning she enjoyed this program, but this time around she found that it did not progress fast enough for her.
There were a few technical issues that we were faced with, but nothing that restarting the program couldn’t fix, so all in all I would be happy to recommend this program for early readers. The Ooka Method is quite sound and kids will play along without realizing that they are learning as they rescue the Ooka Elves from the mean Fligs that wouldn’t teach them to read. I do find that it is priced at the higher end of what I would be willing to pay for what you get, but at the same time, it is a program that is quite engaging and may be worth the price even if you decide to pay for it on a month to month basis of 12.95$ or an annual price of 124.95$. I encourage you to take some time to look at the website and decide for yourself.