A few weeks ago I told you about a new educational reading program I was trying out with my two school age kids. Ooka Island is a learn-to-read adventure that claims to help children learn to read without them realizing they are learning. I went into this trial a bit skeptical as I have tried a few reading programs in the past and while my daughter usually jumps right in and has a blast playing the games, my son loathes anything that resembles a ‘learning game’.

I was not let down in the fact that my son was onto me and didn’t want to even try the game. The first time I presented it to him he insisted he was not going to play it. Instead of arguing and fighting with him about it (which would have just made matters worse) I said that it was fine, his sister and I would play the game and he could just watch if he wanted. I think this piqued his interested a bit because usually I would say he had to do it (we have some online math games that we ask him to do for 20 minutes a day).

Here my daughter is shopping at the Mist Mart, which is where you can spend your earned mist to use on items for your avatar.


After a few minutes of watching his little sister play the game he was soon joining in with us and was shouting out answers! I then removed myself from playing and just let the two of them play…and play they did.  I didn’t see them for another half hour, plus my son asked me to play again the next day. Unfortunately I didn’t have his account set up yet so he was a bit dissapointed. After a few emails with support his account was set up and he was thrilled to be able to play again. This has never happened with any learning game before!

Here my son is setting up his own avatar and getting ready to play the game!  Woohoo!

I am so thrilled that he actually wants to use the program that that alone has me stoked, but the best part is that I can tell this is a quality program. Why? Let me tell you what I have noticed is different about Ooka Island versus other learning programs.

The Ooka Island Difference

Many of the online learning games offer lessons, games, and a ‘library’ of reading material. The only problem is that kids are free to choose what they want to do when they log on, so if they want to just sit and play games all day, then they sit and play games. This leaves the lessons untouched.

With Ooka Island it is different. In order to have access to the games you must complete the lessons first. The good news is that the lessons themselves feel like games, so the whole experience is great for kids and I know they are getting a quality learning experience! They do have some ‘free play’ time occasionally though. My son was actually excited to tell me all about it (again – amazing!). He said, “mom, did you know that when you see the beach ball you can do whatever you want?” He was so excited to have the choice to do anything he liked, that going back to the lesson portion once his free time expired was no big deal. I am honestly still in shock at the fact that he really wants to play this game!

Playing and answering questions like a champ!


Has it helped in learning to read?

To be honest it is probably too soon to tell. My kids haven’t played it long enough to see any real results yet, but even in the little they have played I know they are learning things. I see it in my daughter when she brings home tasks from school to complete…they have become much easier for her. In my son I see a willingness to read more and try harder words. He is doing a lot better on taking his time to sound out words and not getting frustrated like he used to, so obviously it must be helping.

More about Ooka Island

Ooka Island is the only adaptive reading program based on research-based methodology and scientifically proven results.

Ooka Island is based on forty years of reading research and teaching experience. In 2008, Dr. Kay MacPhee, Ooka Island Co-Founder, was recognized by the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, What Works Clearinghouse for her work in early literacy. Out of 153 programs in review, Dr. MacPhee’s concepts were rated at the top, showing the highest improvement in reading comprehension for emerging readers.

Before Ooka Island, Dr. MacPhee’s Eye-Ear Reading Method existed in a tutor-based program that was successful in helping over 25,000 children and adults how to read. Since transferring the methodology to technology and creating Ooka Island, Dr. MacPhee is seeing four year olds break into reading in 13 hours and five year olds break into reading in only 8 hours. This is compared to the 20-30 hours, on average, it would take to accomplish the same goals in the tutor-based program.

Check out Ooka Island for yourself!

I really love this program and am thrilled to be able to give you an exclusive 30% off discount offered to readers of The Mommy Bunch.
This offer is valid toward all subscriptions, but does not include school licenses.



So tell us….

Have you ever tried any learn-to-read programs?


I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this Ambassadorship via Splash Media Engagement. The opinions on this blog are my own.