Review: Orphs of the Woodlands by Star Toaster

I don’t often start off a review by gushing about the product.  I am blessed to love most of (though not all) of the things I get to review but even still, some things go above and beyond by craziest expectations. Orphs of the Woodlands by Star Toaster is one of them.  Don’t even bother reading this review.  If you have a young child, particularly a boy who adores reading… get this for them.  If you have a young child who would rather do just about anything BUT read… get this for them!

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What Is It?

Orphs of the Woodlands is an online reading adventure geared towards children in 4th through 7th grade.  Notice I said online. This program definitely requires a computer with internet access.  To begin each time you use it you input your log in credentials and away you go.  

We read Treasure of High Tower which is the first interactive book in the Orphs of the Woodlands series.  However it is so much more than a book.  There is an adventure game woven throughout the story that provides the children with in depth topical learning as well as motivation to keep right on reading the story.  A subscription for this program is good for 2 months though extensions are possible upon request.

The story is based on a little gray squirrel that the children get to name.  Ezra named his Luke (we are in a Star Wars phase here).  The squirrel was made an orphan by Night Creatures.  There are many orphaned creatures (known as Orphs) in the forest.  It is up to the squirrel to not only find the Night Creatures but to care for the Orphs as well.  As if that isn’t enough for one little squirrel he must also become a spy and locate treasure before the Night Creatures.

I was wondering if the Night Creatures might be a bit scary in some way… they aren’t.  They are just described as the things at night we are all afraid of.  That’s it.

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As the child reads through the story he can mouse over highlighted words where he learns more information about the creature, recipes, vocabulary, and other facts.  Letters from various characters add even more depth the experience.

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After completing each chapter the games begin.  It is up to Squirrel to rescue as many Orphs as possible.  The Orphs live in a place called Ivythwaite in the forest which is where your child must visit.

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Professor Forp is critical to the learning.  He teaches your child math and science through videos hidden throughout the experience.  Ezra and Noah both really enjoyed these videos.  There was a lot of new and interesting content. Professor Forp is a bit of a character who might have your child laughing a bit.

The child also has jobs to complete that are organized into categories like Arts, Vocabulary, Math, Science and Thinking Skills.  The jobs earn you gold stars that the child uses to buy things the Orphs need.

JobsBoard

One of the many unique aspects of this program is that there are opportunities for real life hands-on experiences.  While absolutely not required to progress in the game or the story there are recipes for cooking, disappearing ink, and more!

For parents that want to be kept in the loop and up to date on their children’s learning emails come straight to inbox.  They include a progress report with information like pages read and lessons completed. Statistics on how many Orphs have been rescued and so much more.

How We Used It

Both of my boys, ages 7 and 9, used this program daily and very independently.  They could get through the chapter and corresponding games and lessons in about a half an hour.  The reading material and difficulty is perfectly suited for children in the middle grades. Both of my boys are super strong readers even my 7 year old cruised through the story quickly and with ease.  They logged on every day and worked diligently and quickly always begging for more.

While my own children do not need motivation to read I want you to have a vision for what this program could do for a more reluctant reader.  To be successful on their own in this program a child has to be a reader.  However, I could see a child who doesn’t typically care to read without being told to DEVOURING this program.  The story is intriguing and fun.  The adventure game is exciting.  The lessons are in depth and informative.  Even advanced readers can gain so much.

Free Trial

Star Toaster is offering a free trial so that you can get a taste for the for first chapter and the games.  What a great program to supplement, offer as a reward, or to use as part of summer fun on rainy days.

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Conclusion

We loved this!  Adored it!  It was just fun and educational and challenging too.  Both of my boys ask me nearly daily when the next story in the series will be available.  I may not be able to keep them from finishing it all in a day or two once it finally comes out!

Star Toaster Review
Crew Disclaimer

Comments

  1. Crystal, thank you for the fabulous review! Absolutely love your blog. Your readers can still try “Orphs of the Woodland” for FREE. It’s a great way to get ahead for the next school year. Those who complete the FREE TRIAL receive a 25% OFF Promo Code for the program. Thanks again for the great review! Happy Learning!

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