What if you could give a gift that kids would actually play with during the year? Now, what if that gift could also help them improve their ability to read?
Those are some staggering numbers. Nearly half of us fall below the minimum reading level.
If you have a child between pre-K and Grade 2 on your gift giving list this year, consider gifting the Ooka Island app.
Yes, it’s an app you ultra-cool parent/grandparent that is keeping up with the changing times.
But, it’s not just a reading app. It’s a game that your child plays while they learn. As a matter of fact, learning to read is a by-product of the game. Imagine taking some of their iPad time and using it for good.
Ooka Island is built on 25 years of research and was created by Dr. Kay MacPhee, a literacy researcher, lifelong educator and fellow Canadian. In 2008, Kay joined forces with Jim Barber, a teacher and author to create Ooka Island. Throughout the game, kids can rescue books from the Glass-bottom boat. Jim created these 85 books specifically for Ooka Island and as the reader’s ability increases, the reading level of the book gradually increases until kids are reading chapter books.
While learning the five foundations of reading, kids spend time on Ooka Island where they play the hero. They work to rescue missing books and elves, and they complete tasks to help the elves on Ooka Island. There are a number of different mini-games in the app so kids aren’t repeating the same game over and over.
Parents can sign up to receive a weekly update on their child’s progress that includes information like amount of time spent on the app, books read and levels completed.
You can read my first post about Ooka Island and here is our second update.
My oldest and youngest are both still playing Ooka Island. The amount of minutes in a week fluctuates for both of them but they enjoy playing it.
My youngest, at age 4, is starting to recognize letters by how they look and the sound they make. She loves the ‘free play’ time she gets in the app so she can go to the Pencil Playground and see all of the items she bought with her Ooka Mist at the Mist Mart (she earns Ooka Mist by completing games).
My oldest, at age 7, is doing well with the whole game. Her reading in school is improving and she is sounding larger words out now. As she has progressed through the various games, I noticed they changed. Some games added on a new component to them, while others increase in their complexity to match her increased knowledge and keep her entertained.
Both of our girls have realized that the game will do new things as they progress and they are always excited to show us what has changed when a new experience opens up.
I am impressed with how the game progresses and slows down in relation to how my daughter’s are doing on a particular level. The game doesn’t just go on without them. It adjusts to make sure they understand what they are learning, then it proceeds.
Do you know someone between pre-K and Grade 2 who could use this app? Consider gifting it to them this Christmas.