I know I have.
And this interactive, online program from Star Toaster is just the thing to get them reading again.
What It Is:
I received an online program called Orphs of the Woodland. This online resource is full of fun reading and games. And the cool thing is that your child is having so much fun with the adventure that they forget they are actually learning.
The Orphs of the Woodland begins with a story called The Treasure of High Tower. This story is about a squirrel, which your child can actually name, and his adventures in the Woodland.
The story is actually quite involved! It begins by explaining that the Night Creatures had orphaned many other creatures, including your squirrel, and now terrorized the land. Your squirrel friend becomes a spy for the good side and through the story, learns that having knowledge from books is the greatest tool of all.
The program consists of your child reading the story, and then interacting with the story by doing jobs. These jobs earn money, which then helps the little Orphs, or orphan animals, that are in your squirrel's care.
The reading level is 4th-7th grade. And that is exactly where Dasher is in her reading journey so I had her doing this for the last few weeks.
You begin by reading the story. The story is divided into chapters, which are between 20 and 50 pages long. There are 15 chapters total. As you read the story, harder words are highlighted in red. When you hover over the word, the definition is given.
There are even places where sound is a part of the story, and if you click on the icon, you hear the sounds that are being described. The story also shares recipes, quotes, and other tidbits of knowledge.
As you read further and further, different jobs become available. We didn't hit our first job until about halfway through the first chapter, which took us a bit to get to, but this did give Dasher incentive to keep reading.
The jobs are divided by category. These include:
- Life Skills
- The Arts
- Thinking Skills
The jobs are varied, and seem like a real job. For example, in the math job on Place Value, she watched a short lesson given by one of the characters in the book on place value. She then answered a couple of questions on place value in a bank job. If you get the answer, your character is rewarded with Goldstar coins, which is the currency of the Woodlands.
In a Life Skills job, she looked at the directions for Green Tea. (Which is the drink of choice in the Woodlands.) After studying the page, she answered a question about it and earned more Goldstars.
As your child moves through the story and does the various jobs, they are able to buy supplies for their Orphs. They can purchase water, food, defenses, medicines, clothing, and other things to help them survive.
What You Get and What We Thought:
A subscription to Star Toaster is $19.99 for 60 days. You can also purchase a 30 day extension for $6.99. And right now, Star Toaster is offering a free trial so that you can do the first lessons for free.
I decided to have Dasher do this online book. She struggles with reading and I thought that having the jobs and other activities might give her incentive. In the beginning it was slow going. The reading level was definitely at an upper elementary level, with a few vocabulary words on each page. I really liked that you just had to hover over the word and see the definition.
Dasher needs to be reminded to focus, so I would sit with her while she did Star Toaster. The reading part was tough for her and so I suggested a compromise: I read one page and then she read a page. This worked really well! And then once we did get to the jobs and projects, she really started to get into the program.
The math lessons were perfect for her; in chapters 1 and 2 they only focus on place value. There were over 10 different jobs that were about place value; I loved how this emphasis on one area of math really helped her to grasp place value in a fun way.
She loved telling the rest of the family all that had happened that day in the Woodlands, she is such an animal person so the storyline of a squirrel and mice was perfect for her. The animals do talk and each have different personalities.
Overall we really enjoyed this fun way to get some reading time in. This would be the PERFECT thing to do over the summer. For 15 minutes a day, you could get in some reading, math, vocabulary, science, and so much more.
Lots of other Crew members reviewed this online program; check out what they thought by clicking below.