Reading Success in Kindergarten and Beyond

Develop strong early reading skills and a love of learning with Ooka Island’s adaptive, game-based learn to read program.

See the Student Experience
  • Proven Results Icon

    Proven Results

    Students who played 10 hours improved overall by 12% in phonological skills and 7% in comprehension.

  • Adaptive Icon

    Adaptive Learning

    Ooka Island uses continuous formative assessment to adjust instruction and pace for each student.

  • Data-Driven Icon


    Our real-time student reports help you monitor student progress and inform classroom instruction.

  • Game-Based Icon

    School to Home

    Invite your students to continue learning at home with Ooka Island's seamless, free school-home feature.

What will my students be learning?

Students will develop phonological and comprehension skills through Ooka Island's 24 levels of educational activities and 85 ebooks.

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    Phonological Development

    Students are guided through a variety of activities that teach research-based concepts such as phonemic awareness and blending sounds.

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    Reading for Comprehension

    Ooka Island includes 85 leveled ebooks with highlighting and supportive narration. Students read each ebook twice, followed by activities.

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    Independent Free Play

    Students are rewarded with free play where they can choose to revisit games, reread ebooks, change their avatar and spend their Ooka Mist.

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Ooka Island is founded on over 25 years of research.

Review Research
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The Ooka Island program focuses on producing strong comprehension skills. The Ooka Island method is based on the proven concepts of a program that was recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education as the top program, out of 153 analyzed, for developing comprehension in young readers. This program was SpellRead, developed by Dr. Kay MacPhee, the co-founder of Ooka Island.

The WWCH released a report with a review of 153 programs, out of which only 24 had research that matched evidence standards. Only seven programs were shown to provide significant increase in comprehension and out of those seven, SpellRead was number one, with an average percentile gain of 20 points.

Results of this study showed that SpellRead:

  • made a significant impact on the reading skills of deficient readers in grades one to six.
  • improved reading skills after only 35 hours of SpellRead instruction at all grade levels.
  • was effective for both moderately and severely deficient readers when delivered in groups of three to five students.

Rashotte, C.A., Kathleen MacPhee and Joseph K. Torgesen. “The Effectiveness of a Group Reading Instruction with Poor Readers in Multiple Grades.” Learning Disability Quarterly, 24:2 (2001): 119-134.

Research has confirmed that appropriate computer-assisted instruction that is engaging and enjoyable, and provides active learning experiences, strongly encourages learning in young children. The highly motivating game environment of the Ooka Island program, with short activities, consistent reinforcement, computer animation and interactivity, keeps children engaged and learning.

The more structured nature of computer-based learning compared with regular classroom instruction, as well as the immediate feedback and greater engagement with the learning experience that computers provide, make this type of reading instruction particularly well suited to young children.

Van Daal, V.H.P. and P. Reitsma, “Computer Assisted Learning to Read and Spell: Results from Two Pilot Studies.”Journal of Research in Reading 21, (2000): 181-193.

Shamir, Adina and Inessa Shlafer, “E-books effectiveness in promoting phonological awareness and concept about print: a comparison between children at risk for learning disabilities and typically developing kindergarteners.” Computers & Education, 57.3 (2011): 1989-1997.

The Ooka Island program provides a meticulously structured and leveled approach with explicit instruction in all the essential early literacy skills, with each skill building on the previous skills. Science has proven that learning to read with explicit instruction in recognizing and using the 44 sounds of English is crucial for the development of essential foundational skills for reading. In addition, learning to read in a more structured way, where activities build skills in a carefully determined progression, in a consistently presented format, is more efficient and supportive, particularly for children who find typical classroom reading instruction overwhelming.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, DHHS. (2010). Developing Early Literacy: Executive Summary of the National Early Literacy Panel (NA). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Web. October 6, 2011.

National Reading Panel Report re systematic, explicit instruction in phonemic awareness.

The Ooka Island program provides intense training on the rapid processing of speech sounds, a vital first step in the development of reading skills. An inability to quickly process speech sounds can cause problems with the normal development of an otherwise effective and efficient phonological system, something that is necessary for the development of foundational reading skills, and ultimately, reading comprehension. A recent study in the journal Child Development suggests “…early hearing speed can predict a student’s reading and spelling skills in early elementary school better than other cognitive skills like intelligence, working memory, and attention.”

Steinbrink, Claudia, et. al. “Development of Rapid Temporal Processing and Its Impact on Literacy Skills in Primary School Children.” Child Development, July-Aug 85:4 (2014): 1711-26

“Learning to listen reduces the cognitive burden of attending to the signal. The more proficient children become in learning to listen, the more capacity they have for listening to learn.”

Tallal, Paula. “Improving Neural Response to Sound Improves Reading.” Child Development Jul-Aug; 85(4): 2014 (1711-26).

Research has shown that e-books can effectively promote phonological awareness and concepts about print among young children, the earliest foundational skills in learning to read. It is particularly important that e-books reflect children’s own experiences and language level. The Ooka Island program intentionally uses very familiar situations and natural language. This makes it easier, rather than more complicated, for children to begin to understand what reading is all about.

One of the most critical, early developing concepts about print involves understanding that print is just spoken words written down. Highlighting of the words as they are read in an e-book, as done with the Ooka Island books, helps develop this understanding and also strengthens the connection between sounds and written words.

The Ooka Island reading experience provides books that have appropriate language and vocabulary throughout the levels, story lines that will be familiar to most young children, simple guiding narration to foster thinking about what is being read, with no other factors that would distract from the reading, and comprehension activities after the reading, so that the story is not interrupted.

“E-storybooks may be more effective for young children if educators provide developmentally appropriate e-storybooks that limit digital features that are unrelated to the story. These can serve as distractions for children and limit their comprehension of the story.”

Shamir, Adina and Inessa Shlafer, “E-books effectiveness in promoting phonological awareness and concept about print: a comparison between children at risk for learning disabilities and typically developing kindergarteners.” Computers & Education, 57.3 (2011): 1989-1997.

Science has proven that learning to read early links to future academic success. The Ooka Island program gives preschoolers the skills they need to be reading before school entry.

A group of researchers examined a number of studies on school readiness, looking at links between three key elements—reading and math skills at school-entry, attention skills, and socio-emotional skills (social skills and problem behaviors)—and later school reading and math achievement. Across all 6 studies, the strongest predictors of later achievement were school-entry math, reading, and attention skills.

Dowsett, Chantelle J. et. al. “School Readiness and Later Achievement.Developmental Psychology, 43:6 (2007): 1428–1446

The National Literacy Panel came to the following conclusions regarding early literacy instruction:

  • “Children who develop more literacy skills in the pre-school years perform better in the primary grades. Providing young children with the critical precursor skills to reading can offer a path to improving overall achievement.”
  • “Research evidence confirms the strong connection between early skill development and later reading success.”
  • “It is critical to start early if children are to develop the skills they need to be successful.”

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, DHHS. (2010). Developing Early Literacy: Executive Summary of the National Early Literacy Panel (NA). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Web. October 6, 2011.

How does Ooka Island fit in my classroom?

Ooka Island is designed to enhance your literacy program in a way that best suits your teaching style and classroom. Regular and consistent use is recommended.

  • Literacy Centers

    Literacy Centers

    Use your classroom tablets to create a learning center that your students rotate through on a regular basis.

  • Guided Reading

    Small Groups

    Use Ooka Island as an independent digital resource for students in a rotational guided reading group.

  • Independent Reading

    Independent Reading

    Students can reread Ooka Island ebooks using one of our two narrator options or they can reread stories on their own.

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    Additional Support

    Ooka Island is ideal as a supplementary support tool for students with IEP’s and ELL students.

Ooka Island is curriculum aligned.

Review Curriculum Correlations
It has been a great opportunity getting to use and know Ooka Island. My students all responded well to it and really, really enjoyed it. Thank you for always responding so quickly to all of my inquires."
Adeshola Agbaje-Ojo
Kindergarten Teacher
Toronto District School Board
Our K-2 teachers are very pleased and feel that when we are consistent with Ooka Island that the students really benefit. It differentiates student learning by having them work at their own level."
Janey Campbell
Elementary School Principal
Bruce-Grey Catholic District