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Outstanding learn-to-read site sure to engage little ones.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

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. does an excellent job of offering clear and intriguing early literacy lessons.

Positive messages

Kids will get positive messages about reading through names of sections on site (such as It's Fun to Read and I'm Reading).

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

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.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the 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.

What's it about?

STARFALL.COM, 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, 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,, 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 The sister site is no longer active; users can now pay a $35 annual fee for additional math and reading activities on But they can access plenty of free materials to make the site worthwhile without a subscription.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about screen limits for 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.

Website details

Subjects:Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, reading comprehension, vocabulary
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, solving puzzles
Self-Direction: academic development
Topics:Numbers and letters
Pricing structure:Free

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Educator and Parent Written byrpaditya May 20, 2011

good tool to learn letters and phonics

good for teaching mouse skills and has the right balance of incentives and rewards
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 3 and 6 year old Written byKZMama February 15, 2011
Both my three year old and kindergartner love this website!
Parent of a 4, 7, 9, and 11 year old Written byaasaints April 26, 2010

my son loves it

my son loves it so much
What other families should know
Great messages