A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn about letter recognition, phonics, and reading. Skill acquisition is appropriately gradual; kids begin simply by sounding out different combinations of letters. Exercises will help expand their vocabularies, and short selections offer reading practice once they've completed the previous levels of instruction. But parents should know that the site would benefit from more exercises that test the knowledge kids have learned. Starfall does an excellent job of offering clear and intriguing early literacy lessons.
Kids will get positive messages about reading through names of sections on site (such as It's Fun to Read and I'm Reading).
Products & Purchases
There's an online store, which sells supplementary materials, but site doesn't have any ads. Users can opt for a paid membership for extra content.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the Starfall reading basics site is free to use, but a paid membership with additional content is also available. Educational materials are also sold in an online store.
Is It Any Good?
This phonics-based site offers a fantastic (and free) learn-to-read method based on numerous studies and educational research. Kids practice letter sounds, word recognition, and reading comprehension through online books, songs, rhymes, and other games. When they read a storybook online, Starfall reads it back to them, sounding it out like new readers do. The site also offers numerous resources for parents and teachers and a paid version geared toward use at home or school. A separate site, More.starfall.com, used to offer premium content for a price. The sister site is no longer active; users can now pay a $35 annual fee for additional math and reading activities on Starfall. But they can access plenty of free materials to make the site worthwhile without a subscription.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.