Like many of you, I am always trying to find a book for my son to "want" to read. He enjoys science fiction graphic novels, but not I struggle getting him to break out of his "comfort zone reading." Even his video game choices are centered around his love of science fiction robots. So I was excited to get a chance to review Orphs of the Woodlands Online Educational program from Star Toaster.
Star Toaster wants to make learning fun for kids. They wanted to create a program that would encourage kids to learn to take advantage of the educational opportunities around them everyday. They not only wanted an academic program, but also a program that would encourage children to be better people. The program that came out was Orphs of the Woodlands ($19.99 for a 2 month subscription for up to 3 students).
Orphs of the Woodlands (Grades 4 and up) is an online reading and educational program that combines several academic and life skills into one location. It combines a 3 step learning approach:
- A Reading Adventure
- An Academic Adventure
- A Fun Game
Joey has been using Orphs of the Woodlands for a few weeks now. He is reading the current book which is, "The Treasure of High Tower". He is really enjoying the story. There are 15 chapters in this book. Joey is not one for reading online ebooks, so he does move a bit slower. This presented a challenge for him to read the material online. On the other hand, one really nice example of why ebooks can be wonderful for kids that struggle with comprehension issues is that Orphs of the Woodlands has vocabulary words highlighted and definitions are provided when you click on the word.
Short videos are also included in the lessons that helped break up the monotony of reading. They help draw his attention back to what he should be doing.
After you finish a chapter, you get to do "jobs" to earn money. These are the educational games that help kids practice and learn new skills. The jobs (or academic skills) cover a wide range of skills that include math, science, literature arts, history and even life skills.
I never know how Joey will react to online educational programs, so I was waiting to hear that he didn't like it. But he is having so much fun!!!
There is a sign in for Joey and a sign in for me so that I can see his progress and areas where he needs to improve.
Joey is really enjoying Orphs of the Woodlands and we plan to continue as he keeps reading the story. I love programs that combine many subjects together. He doesn't even realize that he is learning extra. I can't wait until the next book is available.
The one thing that Joey gets frustrated with is that he has to read a full chapter in order to start his next set of jobs. I wish the chapters were broken into small sections or split the amount of jobs and every so many pages there were more jobs for him to do.
Something that could be added that would be awesome is having the book read to the student. I know this is for older students, but for kids with disabilities and reading delays, they may struggle a bit to read these chapters. Audio reading would be wonderful to help them out.
Several members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out Orphs of the Woodlands from Star Toaster. Stop by the blog and see how they used Orphs of the Woodlands in their homes.