Discover this App that Helps Teach Children to Read

Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. uses decades of research and best practices in reading instruction to give students the foundation they need to become fluent readers and lifelong learners. 

Through the Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. app, students go on an enchanted journey to Ooka Island to teach the Ooka Elves to read, and in turn, enhance their own reading comprehension.

Learn more about the Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. app and its features below. Discover its content and how it can help children to read. 

  • What Is Scholastic F.I.R.S.T.?
  • What Are The Features Of The Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. App?
  • How Does Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. Help Children To Read?
  • What Are the Different Book Levels Available on the Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. App? 
  • About Phonological Levels
  • What Is Ooka Mist?
Discover this App that Helps Teach Children to Read
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What Is Scholastic F.I.R.S.T.?

Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. gives students in Grades Pre K–2 the basic reading skills they need to become fluent, automatic readers with good comprehension.

Discover this App that Helps Teach Children to Read
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Ooka Island changes how basic reading skills are taught by breaking down the process into thousands of small steps — 6,695 to be exact. Ooka Island actively customizes each student's path to fluent reading by using a strong teaching method and technology that adapts quickly.

Ooka Island is based on Dr. Kay MacPhee's proven, research-based ideas. It starts by ensuring children are aware of how words sound and then teaches them phonological skills to make reading words as easy as speaking them so that students can focus on understanding. 

An important first step in learning to read is to work hard on quickly processing speech sounds. To build an excellent phonological system, you must process speech sounds quickly.


How to Download the Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. App

The Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. app is designed for web and mobile devices. The Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. app is available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store

Parents and teachers can freely use the app for their children or students. The Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. app is free so that they can enjoy its content and features fully.

What Are the Features of the Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. App?

It's essential to know how a student, class, school, or district is doing in a big-picture and particular way. It's just as important to give teachers ways to use that data.

Discover this App that Helps Teach Children to Read
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The meaningful reports from Ooka Island are full of the best and most valuable metrics. This gives teachers the tools to help students reach their critical reading goals.

Linking reading to the home and family greatly affects a person's life. Ooka Island was made so that it could be used outside of school. 

Students can pick up where they left off on their learning-to-read adventure by logging into their accounts.

Is Scholastic F.I.R.S.T App Adaptive?

Being highly adaptable means helping all students along the same path as they learn to read. The app offers three levels of adaptability –  immediate scaffolding, adjustments to pacing, and more complex interventions. 

Ooka Island's continuous formative assessment knows exactly when and how to help a student succeed.

How Does Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. Help Children to Read?

The game starts with an important pre-reading skill, which is being able to recognize and put together the letters of the alphabet. The letters are introduced in groups of three to five, starting with lower case letters because they are the most common and then moving on to upper case letters.

Discover this App that Helps Teach Children to Read
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As the letters of the alphabet are learned, the sounds that go with them are taught. The program starts with /m/, /s/, /oo/, and /ee/, which are the easiest sounds to hear and blend. 

Each of these sounds, like "mmm," can be stretched out or held, so a child can get a good feel for it before putting it with another sound. Because of how the sounds are presented, a word like "soon," made up of three sounds introduced early in the game, is easy for most young learners to figure out.

Consonant sounds, like /d/ and /g/, come later because you can't hold them, and they have a partial vowel sound when you say them. For example, the "d" sound sounds like /du/. The vowels that are harder to say are the ones you can't hold and have to say quickly, like /i/ in "dig." 

Why Does Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. Use Only One Voice?

Though there are 85 books for a range of reading levels, Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. chose to have only one voice do the narration. 

Zobot, the man's voice, is the narrator who reads the text with the child from the beginning as the child may not be able to read it aloud themselves yet.

One other voice present on the app is Auntie Kay, the female voice of the app's teacher who asks questions as a child reads. She points out the less obvious parts of the story to help new readers understand it better.

What Are the Different Book Levels Available on the Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. App? 

The main ways to learn through the Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. Program are by reading incrementally-leveled books according to the learners comprehension, and doing phonological activities

Discover this App that Helps Teach Children to Read
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There are 85 books at different levels available in the app's Popcorn Library. The level of the books ranges from Kindergarten to the start of second grade. 

For example, when an Emergent I or II book is given to a child, they read or listen to the story and answer comprehension questions before rereading it. After the second reading, some activities help the "concept of the word" come together. 

Word is vital so that people know that what they see in print are just written versions of what they heard. This seems so easy for an adult to understand that you might think they wouldn't need much help learning it. 

Why Is It Important to Read Leveled Books When Learning?

When young child looks at print, all they see are streams of letters on a page. This is similar to speech, where words are spoken in a stream without breaks. Even if you point to each word as you say it, just telling a child, this won't be enough for that child to understand what a word is. 

The Ooka Island program takes the time, in the beginning, to ensure that the concept of words is not just a vague idea but an accurate understanding of how spoken and written language are related.

Once a child understands the concept well, they can build a basic sight vocabulary. In the Beginning and Fluency levels, the child gets better at reading, and comprehension and vocabulary are given more attention.

About Phonological Levels

There are 24 levels of phonological activities. These are not reading levels but they teach phonemic awareness and phonic skills. The 44 phonemes in English are taught in a particular order, starting with the sounds that are easiest to hear and blending with other sounds. 

Discover this App that Helps Teach Children to Read
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Practice with rhyming, hearing and recognizing single speech sounds, connecting sounds with letters, breaking down syllables and words into their single sounds, and blending sounds together gives a child the skills they need to be a good reader. 

Using a focused, clear, and systematic approach makes it possible for a child to master these basic skills so that reading becomes easy as they move on to more challenging books.

System Requirements

Scholastic F.I.R.S.T., an Ooka Island Adventure, is an adaptive program that constantly analyzes your child's progress by sending and receiving real-time data over the Internet. This is done to personalize their learning path and help them become good readers.

Because of this, Ooka Island needs a high-speed Internet connection that works all the time. For iOS and Android devices, it's best to have a connection speed of 5mbps or more.

What Is Ooka Mist?

As students move around Ooka Island, they get Ooka Mist as a reward for learning new skills. This is one of the many motivating parts of Ooka Island that are meant to keep students interested.

Discover this App that Helps Teach Children to Read
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At the Mist Mart, students can buy various items, listed below.

  • Clothes and fancy dresses - children can dress up their avatars in crazy clothes and outfits, which they can find in the Pencil Playground's big yellow closet.
  • Materials for the Pencil Playground - In the Pencil Playground, you can find new playground equipment, wallpaper, and floors that are already set up and ready to use.
  • Ooka Tunes Music - The songs on Ooka Island are all fun and original, encouraging kids to read. Children can listen to the music they bought at the Mist Mart on the big radio in the Pencil Playground.

If you see that a student is collecting a lot of Ooka Mist on your report dashboard, you can show them the Mist Mart the next time they are in Free Play.

How Can They Change Avatar?

When a child first goes to Ooka Island, they can use the avatar creator to change their character's appearance. The avatar creator lets them change how their avatar looks and dresses. There are many options for them to choose from so that their avatar is as unique as they are.

After setting up their avatar the first time, they can change how it looks during Free Play. When kids get to Free Play, they can click on the yellow closet in the Pencil Playground to get to the avatar creator.


Students in grades Pre-K through 2 can learn to read fluently and automatically while developing their comprehension skills in Scholastic F.I.R.S.T.