A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
STARFALL, launched in 2002, offers activities for kids in preschool through second grade and kids focusing on English language development, special education instruction, and homeschooling. They progress through four sections: letter recognition, games, stories, and animations that showcase letter sounds, short reading selections that emphasize vocabulary, and online books that provide fluency and comprehension practice. The free phonics-based site also offers a few math exercises. A $35 annual membership provides additional activities.
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 The sister site is no longer active; users can now pay a $35 annual fee for additional math and reading activities on Starfall.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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen limits for Starfall. How is this website geared toward little kids just learning to use the computer?
How do you get your kids to read? Are there ways to keep them reading once they're started? Check out Common Sense Media's expert article on How to Get Your Kids Reading.
Ask your child to point out examples of words that begin with letters shown on the site.
- Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, reading comprehension, vocabulary
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, solving puzzles
Self-Direction: academic development
- Genre: Educational
- Topics: Numbers and Letters
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Last updated: June 20, 2019
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