An Island Built on Research & Innovation

We’ve combined 25 years of research and scientifically-proven teaching methods with the latest in adaptive learning technology to create a program which teaches the skills needed to read.

  • Big Success Metric 1 Icon

    Based on the program ranked #1 for developing reading comprehension by the U.S. Dept. of Education

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    Adaptive learning ensures children learn at their own pace and master skills before progressing

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    Progressively teaches 7,000 distinct steps culminating in mastery of the five foundational reading skills

Learning How to Read is a Science

  • While listening and speaking are natural, reading must be taught like every other skill. Science has proven it’s a complex process requiring mastery of the five foundational skills, which together, allow us to read confidently.

  • The Ooka Method produces a confident reader by teaching 7,000 distinct steps which culminate in mastery of the five foundational skills: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and reading for meaning or comprehension. The island’s innovative activities and eBooks are purpose-built to teach each step progressively towards mastery.

  • In combination with the Ooka Formula – sending your child to the island for 30 minutes, 3 times a week for 1 year - and we’ll transform them into a confident reader.

Engaging & Effective

On Ooka Island, we teach mastery of all five foundational reading skills through innovative activities and eBooks, all designed to engage children.

Your child is a hero on the Island tasked with finding missing books and helping the Ooka Elves learn how to read. On their adventure, they’ll spend 80 hours learning skills through play –like summiting Alphabet Mountain or spelunking in the Cave of Sounds. It’s no wonder children want to return to the Island, it's a BIG adventure for little learners!

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Personalized Learning

Our adaptive learning platform continually analyzes a child’s progress and plots a personalized path towards mastery of the five foundational reading skills.

We know each child travels a unique path towards becoming a confident reader. That’s why, underneath the adventure, we continually analyze their progress and plot a personalized path to ensure they learn at their own pace and master skills before they move on to the next level.

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We have loved this program. My sons ask to play it all the time. It is the best program I have found for introducing so many different steps to learning to read. It covers letter sounds, letter identification, sight words, consonant blends and vowel blends, reading comprehension, and more.
Christina, Parent of 5 years old twins
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Partners with Parents

While your child is on the Island, you are on a learning adventure of your own. And the Ooka Island Reading Team is here to support you every step of the way.

Our Reading Team will send you a weekly progress report until your child graduates the program. Progress reports provide
 a detailed picture of where they’re excelling or having difficulty. This actionable information empowers you to maximize your child’s learning off the island and in the classroom.

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My son loves playing on Ooka Island and gets excited when he earns free play; I love the report features, which allows me to see exactly what his strengths and weaknesses are.
Rachel K., Parent of a 6-year-old boy
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The Ooka Method

The Ooka Method is based on the concepts behind SpellRead, ranked the #1 program for developing comprehension in older readers.

The Ooka Method was designed and developed by tailoring the scientifically proven concepts behind SpellRead for a younger audience. It produces a confident reader by teaching 7,000 distinct steps which culminate in mastery of the five foundational reading skills: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and reading for meaning or comprehension.

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My son can read, but does not enjoy it. At all. He asked over and over again to play Ooka Island though! This is the first online “learning” game that we have tried that he loves. That make me one happy momma.
Erika, TOS Review Crew
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It's Not Just Parents. Experts Love Ooka Too!

Reading research clearly indicates that most students who struggle with reading achievement have problems with phonological processing. Ooka Island is one reading instructional program that teaches phonological skills explicitly as part of a complete reading instructional program. The earlier that we can help build these skills the better the outcome is likely to be for the child."
Dr. Wayne MacDonald Ph.D. ABPP (CN) Diplomate in Clinical Neuropsychology American Board of Professional Psychol
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Review the 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.

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