How do the leveled ebooks on Ooka Island bring a student through to fluent reading?
There are 85 leveled ebooks with activities that follow each reading on Ooka Island. The books are divided into Emergent (35 books), Beginning (40 books), and Fluency (ten books). Ten additional fluency books are also available in print only to provide more practice for accomplished readers (two sets of five books, each set with a common theme). Ooka Island books begin at the non-reader level or pre-kindergarten and end at the early grade 2 level. Reading activities focus on the development of spoken/written correspondence or concept of word, sight words, vocabulary, story sequencing, and ultimately, comprehension.
In the Emergent books, the use of speech balloons, in combination with the guiding narration and the highlighting of the words as they are read, allow beginning readers to use their knowledge of language to “read”. Students are usually familiar with the use of a speech balloon beside a character to show what that character is saying. The narrator provides information to help the child think about the story, and so encourages comprehension. The colored highlighting of each word, as the story is read, helps the child to understand the correspondence between a spoken and a printed word, a vital first step in learning to read. The very familiar situations and natural language used in the stories make it easy for students to predict what will be said, even though they are not actually decoding the words at this stage. As their phonetic skills (sound-letter knowledge) develop through Ooka Island’s phonological activities students constantly build their sight word vocabulary.
As students move along the book path, the familiarity of the characters and situations, along with the supportive narration, continued highlighting, and the careful leveling of the material, makes for a seamless progression toward independent reading. The activities that accompany each book add to vocabulary and comprehension development. This ensures that students focus on learning the true purpose of reading which I getting meaning from print. Learning to read is a surprisingly complex process, but Ooka Island provides the essential guidance through all the foundational reading skills required to build a confident reader.