Starfall

Fremium! Starfall is a non-profit website that includes phonics-based exercises, books, and activities. After launching the website, users can access its content by clicking on one of the different activity types. By clicking the “ABCs” activity, the website loads the complete alphabet and users can click on a letter to view a short video about it. The “Learn to Read” activity provides a series of exercises designed to teach letter blends and simple words by dragging letters together to form words. The “It’s Fun to Read” activity lets users pick a topic and then they are directed to click certain…

Review Overview

A. Instruction - 6
B. Design - 7.8
C. Engagement - 7.1

7

Starfall: A Resource for Phonics

Summary : A Phonics-Based Approach for Reading

Starfall is a non-profit website that includes phonics-based exercises, books, and activities. After launching the website, users can access its content by clicking on one of the different activity types. By clicking the “ABCs” activity, the website loads the complete alphabet and users can click on a letter to view a short video about it. The “Learn to Read” activity provides a series of exercises designed to teach letter blends and simple words by dragging letters together to form words. The “It’s Fun to Read” activity lets users pick a topic and then they are directed to click certain objects on the screen to complete the exercises. Finally, the “I’m Reading” activity lets users choose a topic of interest and then a book about it. At this point, users can choose to read the book independently or they can click the “Horn” icon to have the website read the book to them.

Please Note: This review focused on the free phonics materials included in this website. Additional curriculum materials are available for a fee and some math exercises are also provided.

Instructional Ideas

  1. After modeling a letter sound, teachers can have students complete a “Learn to Read” activity that reinforces that skill. As students complete the activity, teachers can make sweeps of the room and offer support to students as needed.
  2. Before or after carpet time, teachers can have students view the different letter videos posted to the “ABCs” activity section of the website. The goal is to provide repeated exposures to the letters and their sounds so the letters begin to become automatic.
  3. Students can continue developing their reading comprehension skills by completing the “Learning to Read” activities. While they complete these activities, teachers can make sweeps of the room and have students summarize the different activities they are completing.
  4. To individualize the reading experience, students can select a book from the “I’m Reading” library and read it independently or have the website read it to them. Next, teachers can ask students questions about the book, such as: (1) What was your favorite part of the book?, (2) What was the book about?, and (3) If you were going to change one thing about the book, what would it be?
  5. To develop students’’ reading abilities, they can choose a book from the “I’m Reading” library. Next, they can have the website read a page of the book to them. Then, before advancing pages, students can read the words aloud and then advance pages. The goal of this activity is to continue developing students’ fluency.
A1. Rigor
A2. 21st Century Skills
A3. Conn. to Future Learning
A4. Value of Errors
A5. Feedback to Teacher
A6. Level of Material
A7. Cooperative Learning
A8. Accom. of Individual Diff.
B1. Ability to Save Progress
B2. Platform Integration
B3. Screen Design
B4. Ease of Use
B5. Navigation
B6. Goal Orientation
B7. Information Presentation
B8. Media Integration
B9. Cultural Sensitivity
C1. Learner Control
C2. Interactivity
C3. Pace
C4. Flexibility
C5. Interest
C6. Aesthetics
C7. Utility

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