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Starfall - Teaches Children to Read with Phonics

Updated on August 5, 2012
My 4 Year Old Son Using Starfall to Learn How to Read
My 4 Year Old Son Using Starfall to Learn How to Read

Starfall.Com - What is It?

Starfall is a free public service website that teaches children to read using a systematic phonics approach. It was introduced in 2002 by the Polis-Schutz family (who also founded Blue Mountain Arts Publishing, which created the popular e-card site www.bluemountain.com). Starfall is geared towards preschoolers, kindergarten, first grade and special education students. It offers engaging phonics games and online interactive books. The website includes resources for teachers, including lesson plans.

Great Video Review of Starfall

What is Phonics?

This definition is courtesy of Wikipedia - Phonics is a method for teaching reading and writing by developing learners’ phonemic awareness—the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate English phonemes— in order to teach the correspondence between these sounds and the spelling patterns (graphemes) that represent them. The goal of phonics is to enable beginning readers to decode new written words by sounding them out, or in phonics terms, blending the sound-spelling patterns.

My 4 Year Old Son Using Starfall to Learn How to Read

Starfall Learn to Read Products on Amazon.Com

Why I Wrote This Hub..

I wrote this hub because I have three kids (a daughter who's 9, a son who is 7, and another son who is 4) that have all been positively impacted by Starfall. My 9 year old and 7 year old are way above reading levels in school (both two grade levels ahead), which I think is in large part due to their early exposure with Starfall. They both have a great passion for reading now, and I think that learning to read early on helped create that passion because it instilled a confidence and enjoyment in reading. This, hopefully, will be as beneficial and rewarding to your kids, and I really hope you give this site a try (www.starfall.com)..

The Reading Levels of Starfall.Com

Starfall is divided into four reading levels, designed for the progression of the reader, as they learn how to read. The four levels are: Learning ABC's, Early Beginning Reading, Intermediate Beginning Reading, and Advanced Beginning Reading. At the Learning ABC's level, Starfall shows the child the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet, and the child hears the sound of the letters that comprise a word. In Early Beginning Reading, the child creates words using consonants with various word families. The letters are highlighted on the screen as the child goes through words. What's cool about the Intermediate and Advanced Beginning Reading levels is the child can read a whole host of stories, including fiction and non-fiction, and have interactive fun graphics to keep the child engaged.

Starfall in Spanish

Back in 2006, Starfall became available in Spanish. The site is call Pumarosa.com. As it's popularity grew, the demand for a Spanish version of Starfall became evident, and the creator's of Starfall built it's new website to aid in Spanish reading development.

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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 years ago from SW England

      I haven't seen Starfall here in Britain but there are lots of programs for phonics, some good, some bad and I've no doubt Starfall is great for many, as seen from the comments here. I'm a teacher of dyslexics; where some programs work well for many with no difficulties learning to read, a dyslexic needs a multi-sensory approach, i.e. not just sound and vision but kinetics, touch and even smell sometimes, all working together to reinforce reading and spelling. As I don't know Starfall then I can't say how it manages on those counts; it may act well as a back up to other approaches as any different approach is good for variation but computer graphics are not enough on their own. A physical, concrete approach is very important too and can benefit all new readers. Voted up and useful. (Oh, and thanks for the follow!)

    • Brian Anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Anderson 

      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the vote up, Ruchira! Appreciate the comments..

    • Brian Anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Anderson 

      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks, randomcreative! Appreciate the comments!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 

      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks to the internet, homeschooling can be done and we could save bucks. There are so many sites which offer curriculum from kindergarten to highschool and teach via flashcards...

      freeworldu.org

      schmoop

      and list is endless...

      voted up as useful.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I used Starfall all the time for resources when I was teaching and would recommend it to all parents and elementary school teachers. It's a great resource for adults, and kids really enjoy the activities on the site.

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