This is the second in a series of articles that I am writing about free educational websites. Starfall is a website that also provides educational fun through games, videos, crafts and storytelling while teaching basic computer skills. This site is exceptional at teaching and developing reading comprehension and phonics skills. Though it is designed for first grade, Starfall is a great website for Pre-K through second grade. Starfall.com is set up in sections for four stages of reading development, games and activities areas. It features:
o ABCs – In this section, there is an alphabet chart from which kids can click on each letter to find out the sound it makes and to hear it used in a word. There is also a row of vowels that, when clicked, teach kids the vowels and short and long vowel sounds. A sign language section teaches kids to sign the ABCs.
o Learn to Read – In this section, there are fun animated music videos teaching the letters of the alphabets and sounds that each one makes. Stories that follow the music videos repeatedly use words containing the letters. The approach to teaching pronunciation is very creative. The “chunk that word” video is really cute and fun as it teaches how to break words up and pronounce each chunk in order to learn to pronounce the entire word.
o It’s Fun to Read – This section uses Art, Magic, Music, Poetry, Tongue twisters and riddles to show how fun it is to read. There is even an activity that lets the child create a story about his or her self.
o I’m Reading – This section has plays, comics, and various types of stories to include folk tales, fiction, nonfiction, Greek myths and Chinese fables for your child’s enjoyment.
o Games and Activities include making a calendar, holiday activities, word hunt, find a clover and earth day recycling games. There are also more opportunities for creating stories.
o There is an online store for purchasing educational materials.
o Starfall printed material and online printouts are available in the download area.
o A number of pages throughout the site have suggestions for parent or teacher use of the materials on the page.
o Kindergarten curriculum is a new offering of Starfall. This is a Kindergarten reading and language arts program available for purchase.
Starfall.com is an excellent tool for parents, teachers and home schooling for developing reading skills and its fun for children. Don’t miss this website.