Raising Confident Readers with Ooka Island

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Ooka Island

Learning to read is so important.

It’s such a simple concept. Just learn to read, right? For some kids it is easy. They love books, and they understand how words sound and fit together.

For others, it’s not as simple as that. Our seven year old is struggling right now. Not because she can’t read. She can, and she does. It’s because she doesn’t like to read. Even coming from our family where we’ve read books to her since she came home from the hospital and we have books everywhere, she confided that she just doesn’t like it.

Now I know that things can change and one day I might find her devouring book after book, but for now I worry that her lack of enthusiasm will impact her level of learning and comprehension.

According to Statistics Canada, nearly half of Canadians aged 16 to 65 fall below the minimum reading level required to function well at work and in daily living (IALLS, 2005).

So how do you get your kids into a reading program you can access from your home that will compliment their school studies and not feel like you are ‘forcing’ them to learn? You speak their language and create something they will naturally want to engage with.

Playing the new Ooka Island app

Ooka Island is an educational app now available on iPhone and iPad. It was developed by a Canadian company and is based on thorough research by Dr. Kay MacPhee, a literacy researcher and lifelong educator. Read more about the team at Ooka Island. Up until recently, Ooka Island was offered at the educational level only, but now it is available for anyone with an iPhone or iPad.

When I told my daughters I could download them a new game to play, they were excited. I was able to create a separate account for each of them. This is helpful because there is a three year difference between my girls and their reading is not at the same level.

Kids can travel all over the island completing tasks, searching for lost books to read, and playing games, all while learning to read.

Kids can travel all over the island completing tasks, searching for lost books, and playing games, all while learning to read.

First impressions

Between my two girls, my oldest (seven years old) likes this program the most since she is already reading. The sound games (where they listen for the sounds then match them to the letters) have really benefited her. She was recently moved up two reading levels at school because of her improved comprehension. For someone who doesn’t like books to begin with, she has started to enjoy reading the books found in this game. As my oldest says “This is my favourite game where I learn things.”

My youngest (four years old) is competitive so she gets frustrated quickly that she can’t do everything that her big sister can do. She indicated that she didn’t like to play the game so I left it for one week and we are revisiting it now and working on it as a mommy/daughter team away from her older sister so there is no comparing achievements.  She has some mini games she likes more than others so we are focusing on those.

I will be sharing our progress over the next few months but right now, I am glad I found Ooka Island. This educational game is fun to play, and it doesn’t feel like learning. Each game progresses as your child plays it so they don’t lose interest because of repetitiveness.

Playing_Ooka_IslandTo download Ooka Island: You can now type Ooka Island into the App store on your iPhone or iPad, or you can click on FREE TRIAL on the Ooka Island website.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored. Opinions are my own.

Sheri Landry
Sheri publishes, and writes at This Bird’s Day where she shares all of the thoughts in her head without the voices. Sticking mainly with content for Canadians, Sheri shares family stories, product information and anything that fits into her (and her family’s) daily activities.
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