Growing up I went to a public school. I thought I received a pretty good education and when I bought my first house I didn’t think twice about checking off the public school box on my taxes. When my eldest finally reached school age my decision changed. His preschool teacher had been introducing the French language to the class and she was pleasantly surprised how fast he picked it up. She recommended I place him in a French immersion school. Of course there is only one in my region and it was completely full the year he began JK (Junior Kindergarten). We placed him in an English school and was told a spot was open in SK (Senior Kindergarten) and he could transfer then. His first year in school was great he began a love affair with reading and at the end of the year could even read books on his own.
When his younger brother and sister came along, they were able to enter the French immersion system right away. It was amazing how fast they picked up the French language. I was so proud of them, but what I did notice is their English reading wasn’t as strong, especially with my daughter. The teachers said this was normal and they would catch up in the other grades when the English language became more prevalent, but I still worried.
My daughter is a very independent person. Maybe it is because she is the third child or maybe it is because she is a girl, but she doesn’t mind playing alone or working independently. After many failed attempts at trying to help her read with flash cards and phonic books, I realized she needed a medium to teacher her independently. My solution was Ooka Island.
Welcome to Ooka Island
Ooka Island is an online reading program that makes learning to read an adventure. This program meshes 25 years of teaching experience with the latest research in brain development research to create a program that children learn without even realizing it. It focuses on the 5 foundational reading skills; phonetics awareness, vocabulary, fluency, phonics and comprehension. In an unique combination of entertainment and education, your child has the opportunity to travel through 80 hours of personalized, game based learning and 85 eBooks accessible on your iOS or Android device. Ooka Island’s learn to read concepts are scientifically proven, research based and were ranked #1 by the Institute of Education Sciences.
Summer holidays always seem to make going back to school, especially homework, excruciating with my older kids. It isn’t until October that we finally settle into a routine. This summer, my family implemented a mandatory half an hour of summer homework. The kids choose a workbook or math sheets and must complete them daily. When I was introduced to Ooak Island, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to introduce it to DD4
My DD4 loves playing on her tablet. Normally, she spends her tablet time watching television or using a colouring app and she tended to shy away from educational programs and games. When I first introduced Ooak Island, she was extremely excited to play the tablet when her brothers had to do worksheets. She loved that the program was personalized to her and she even had her own secret password to login. The first day, she played the game for over an hour. Occasionally, she would get stuck on what to do, but after one example she was able to figure the rest out. The next day, she asked when it was time to play. I love watching her sit in the corner on her tablet trying to figure out the problems. Sounding out and analyzing words in ways I have never seen her do before.
My favourite aspect about the program is that I receive a weekly report showing me how well DD4 is doing. This allows me to follow her progress and encourage her along the way. It also provides me with ideas of where she may be struggling so I can point out examples during our nightly bedtime reading. The program encourages her individual style of learn, with a program that is designed for her! When I ask her how her reading is going, she laughs and asks if I mean her game. I love the improvements I’ve seen in the last two weeks she has been using this program! I can’t wait to see more!
Stay tuned for her update Ooka Island at the end of the summer!