Site URL: www.starfall.com
Content: Starfall.com is an interactive website intended for early readers (K-2). It features a number of activities to encourage kids who are learning to read. The activities build on each other, starting with learning the alphabet and its associated sounds, and followed by reading simple online books and more advanced reading activities.
Design: The bright, colorful and kid-centric site makes it easy to navigate, locate content and discover special features (including a store and an area devoted to a kindergarten curriculum available for purchase). A navigation bar at the bottom of the page takes viewers to inner areas for parents and teachers, which help explain how to use the site.
Review: Starfall uses a phonics-based learning system that is supported with both online games and activities and a print series. Teachers can purchase a kindergarten curriculum and materials as well. The method used is based on the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Big Five focus area recommendations: phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. The site’s resources are free and can be accessed both in the classroom and at home.
Bottom line: This is a very kid-friendly site, perfect for using during computer learning time. The ideal use of Starfall is as a supplement to in-class exercises and lessons. It’s engaging for kids, and extends the lessons with fun visual and audio.