Saturday, May 21, 2011

Starfall

If you have a child in Pre-K through 2nd grade, and you have not yet found Starfall, you have to check it out.

Starfall is a website with resources for learning to read & beginning readers. Plus, it's mostly FREE! I say mostly, because they recently added a new part to the site, which requires a subscription. We can talk about that later, though. Right now, let's focus on the main part of the site - the free part!

Starfall helps kids learn or review letter recognition & sounds and reading skills, with short videos and fun, interactive books. When reading the books, they can click on any word to have it sounded out & read to them. That way, they can get help with a word they are struggling with or verify that they pronounced it correctly.

There are fun activities for holidays, too. In the section for learning the ABCs, you can even learn the ASL alphabet! The Learn to Read area has 15 interactive books and a bunch of videos. In the next level, It's Fun to Read, they can read poetry, riddles, tongue twisters, and even be introduced to some artists. In the final level, I'm Reading, they can read comics, fiction, nonfiction, and more.

On the Download page, there are free printables so your child can practice reading and writing offline as well.

My son loved this site! Even after he was reading independently, he would visit Starfall just for fun. While I've heard a few people say their kids did not enjoy Starfall, most who have used it seem to be thrilled with it.

Ok, I said we'd talk about the paid portion later. Well, it's later. More.Starfall is a fairly new addition to the site. It has activities for color, Math, and more reading/phonics. There are some activities that are free, so you can get an idea of what they have. To have full access to that portion of the site, though, you need to subscribe. The price is very reasonable, too. Only $35 for a one year Home Membership. I don't have a membership for this part, but would definitely consider getting one if my kids were younger. They are both beyond what is offered, though.