Monday, April 4, 2011

GoGo Kabongo - Online Reading Website Review

GoGo Kabongo is an online website that uses a cognitive approach to reading.  It is targeted for ages 4-7, but can be used for younger students who are early readers or older students who may be struggling and need some extra help.  GoGo Kabongo uses fun and interactive games to teach kids critical thinking and problem solving strategies, which in turn develop good reading skills.  It was developed by a cognitive therapist.  You can read more about  the cognitive approach to reading by clicking HERE.

GoGo Kabongo is a colorful, fantastic world filled with adventures and unique characters.  I would like to introduce you to the creatures you will meet there...

Each of these interesting "hosts" have a different job in the GoGo Kabongo world.  They meet up with you and help explain the games and encourage you.  Our personal favorite was Karl, the host of Galaxy Gardens.  Students also get to make their own Avatar.  My son and I created an Avatar that was a wacky 4 eyed alien looking dude on a skateboard.  It was fun making him and we could change the Avatar at any time .

The student begins in the treehouse!  Here is where you will see your Avatar (it's pictured in the center), be able to change your avatar, and view the map to choose which world you want to visit.  You can also go to the skate park from here!  That's right!  You can earn ramps and other skate park items and show off your skills.  If you prefer, select the comic book maker!  Here is where you can use the stickers you earn from completing games and design your own comic.  Don't want to win skate park items or stickers?  Then choose cool accessories and decorations to make your treehouse match your personality.

Now, it's off to choose a habitatLaughter Lake, Twister Top, and Galaxy Gardens.  Take your pick!
Laughter Lake is home to 3 game: Critter Sizer, Scuba Dude and Going Buggy. Twister Top is home to 3 games:  Design a Door, Desert Dash, and Crazy Maze. Galaxy Gardens is home to 3 games:  Photo Safari, Rocket Racer, and Robo Bobo.  Each of these games has 6 levels and progresses at your own child's pace as they master the different skills.  To read the details about each of these habitats and the games they have click HERE. Here is a chart that details the skills being taught and learned in each game.

GoGo Kabongo has a Parent Center where a student's progress can be followed.  Here you will find detailed reports on what your child has been doing in each habitat and in each game.  It tracks and shows what level has been achieved and which rewards have been given.  To read more about these skills and why they are important to your child's reading development, click HERE.

GoGo Kabongo wants to make your child's learning experience fun and filled with variety.  That's why they also provide Featured Articles, Activity Time and Printables.  These special resources will take you and your child outside of the computer and into interactive activities together to reinforce what is being learned on the GoGo Kabongo website.

My son is 11, so GoGo Kabongo was not a good fit for him.  But, he played the games anyway and he gave his opinion.  He feels that this website is a great tool for kids learning to read.  He wishes it was around for him when he was younger.  I also had my nephew and his friend try it out.  They are both 8 years old.  Both of them loved it and played for almost 2 hours straight, taking turns (and fighting over whose time was up).  Here are some of the key points that we all liked about GoGo Kabongo:
  • It is colorful and adventurous looking
  • With 9 different games to play in 3 different habitats, there is plenty of variety
  • The player receives a reward choice after each game completed
  • It's easy to navigate, even for a young one
  • The animation voices are clear and easy to understand.  The directions are easy to follow
  • Parents can monitor their student's activity and progress
  • The games get more challenging the farther you move along
Here is what we did not like about GoGo Kabongo:
  • It is still in the Beta stage which means it is still being tested.  Not all of the glitches have been ironed out.  As a result, we experienced regular technical issues where certain features would not work or load.  The tech support "guys" were welcoming of any feedback on this and worked quickly enough to resolve any issues.  I think once it gets out of the Beta stage, this website will be pretty fine tuned, but until then expect some hiccups.

So, I'm sure you are wondering by now how much this cool website will cost you.  Fear not, it's so reasonable!  You can play for FREE in Laughter Lake.  Then, for only a limited time you can play for FREE in Galaxy Gardens which is normally $4.95.  I don't know how long that will last so don't wait!  For only $4.95 you can also play in Twister Top. This is a ONE TIME FEE of only $4.95.  So, what are you waiting for?  There are no contracts or long term membership.  Sign up now and see your child's skills and confidence grow in reading.  Click HERE to get started.

Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

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