One thing my kids really enjoy is a good reading adventure. We have been working our way through Orphs of the Woodlands by Star Toaster. The book we are reading in this story is called The Treasure of High Tower. There is a second book that is set to come out really soon. This is for kids grades 4th – 7th.
There are many things to really like about Orphs of the Woodlands. As you are reading the story you will find roll over vocabulary words, meaning that your child can see the definition of the bigger words. You will also find recipes through the story. Sometimes as your going through the story there are sound files that go with the story and sometimes there are short videos to watch as well.
What you do is read a chapter of the story. Then you complete jobs for stars that you will use to take care of the orphs and to complete projects with. The jobs consist of the following categories: math, science, language, vocabulary, thinking skills, character, life skills, the arts, and more. As you complete more and more jobs you earn more stars.
The nice thing is as your child moves through the story and completes the jobs, their progress is emailed to you. You also have a parent log in too where you can see your childs progress.
The story transforms your child into a spy who works with the WAK Underground. Your child is actually the squirrel in the story. You get to pick your name for the squirrel. My son picked Screamo. I am not sure why he picked that but that was his name in the story. The mission is to fight the night creatures that are terrorizing the woodlands. The squirrel ends up taking care of the orphs by creating a settlement in IvyWaite for them to live. While the squirrel is developing a passion to help out these orphs, he is also finding a love to learn new things.
HOW WE USED IT:
We spent roughly 25 – 30 minutes a day reading and working on jobs. The days of the jobs we actually spent a longer time on. The chapters were a little to long for my son to read all at once. To keep his interest I broke the chapters down and we spent so much time reading them each day. So there were days we just read and days at we worked on just jobs.
I did notice that while reading this story, he was more into this than pretty much any other story we read. I think being a character in the story he was intrigued and wondered how it would end.
I really liked that vocabulary was a job. I liked how there was two or three definitions for the child to read and study and then when you went to do the job you had to either define the vocabulary word or figure out it’s meaning in the context of the sentence.
My son really enjoyed doing all the jobs to earn the gold stars. I noticed that in his settlement at times he would change things so that they would cost less to maintain and be more productive. I think he had fun taking care of the orphs as well.
The rolling vocabulary was great too, as there were a lot of new words to my son. It was great for him to be able to learn the words right on the screen instead of having to look them up the dictionary.
We also really enjoyed being able to see the different recipes as well. We do want to try the recipes we just haven’t had the chance to try them. There was a science experiment we want to try on our own with the red cabbage. You get to test different acidity levels. Again, we haven’t had extra time lately to try it, but we are going to do it soon.
The videos were short and sweet and they held the attention span to my son. Short and sweet is how he is able to retain things. The way the jobs were set up were actually perfect for him. I like how you can watch the videos in the story and then you see them again when you are working through the jobs. It’s like a refresher.
All in all this is a great reading program for kids. This is a fun adventure for kids to read, learn new things, and even build a strategy in how they decide to take care of the orphs on their settlements. So there is a lot of things all wrapped into one. It keeps them engaged and wanting more.
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