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Starfall Reviews

Starfall offers both a free online phonics/reading program and a (fee-based) reading/language arts curriculum that is “magical, creative, sequential, integrated, and combines content area instruction in Social Studies and Science – that’s kindergarten, the Starfall Way. Starfall uses fantasy as a springboard for motivating children to use their natural sense of wonder and curiosity to enhance learning. Children interact with Starfall characters in the classroom as well as through stories, songs, rhymes, practice books, writing journals, and activities online.” is a separate membership area of the site that extends available offerings to include customizable worksheet generators, lesson plans, math games, more extensive phonics games, and more.

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(44 Reviews)

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  1. Starfall Review by Sue Denym
    Pros: Great for phonics
    Cons: Not a fan of the math

    Grades Used: pre-k

    We absolutely love Starfall in this house! We are a Montessori family, so my children learn primarily from working with those materials, so that says something!

  2. Starfall Review by Sally Hill
    Pros: A lot of really really good content
    Cons: The progression organization of the site

    Grades Used: 2 years to 6 years old

    The organization of the material is still confusing for me even after I have used Starfall off and on for about 8 years now. Most of my review is my explaining what has worked best for me to organize our journey through the material.

    I have been very pleased with Starfall, but it took me a little while to decide/learn the order to present the materials. *******I do wish the site was organized differently to help me know how and when to skip around. I think an avatar working his way through a reading map and suggesting a logical progression would be very useful*****

    First I get my children used to “doing preschool” by learning the colors at about 2-3 years old.

    Then depending on my child’s readiness we have started the ABC section as early as a late 2 or as late as 4 years old. I sit with the child and make sure that we learn a letter or two before I let him have free play. They next day I review what we have already learned and then we do a few more. I have learned that it won’t do any good to move more quickly than the child is ready for so until you see the signs that your child is ready, you just keep playing in the ABC section. I put him on my lap and try to make it fun. The I let him play on the activities after we are done.

    Then at some point the light switch will go off and the child will be ready for blending sounds. The word machines are my next stop. In the beginning I sit with the child, with the volume turned off and with my hand over the picture of the word, and I work with my child to sound out the word. Later, they race the machine to read the word before the picture comes down the pipe.

    As soon as I can see my child is getting the hang of blending the sounds then I take him to the first 5 of Backpack Bear’s books. Here he will learn some sight words that he will need. I focus on teaching them that some words can be sounded out and that you have to memorize other words. One of my kids flew through that whole section. The others have spent more time. Sometimes depending how he is progressing we take an easy day and go back to word machines or to the first few books in unit one of “more phonics”.

    Then we can go back to the “learn to read section” because now that my kid has some sight words down, he’ll be ready for the first five lessons there. I have tried this without spending some time on the sight words and it is too big a jump from word machines to reading these lessons.

    Then I go back and do the rest of the lessons in “Backpack Bear’s books.” By the time we get through those, my kids start hitting the wall where they fight me more about doing preschool and they get tired because it has become work. Two of my kids really welcomed the break when we moved on and started with the “short vowel pals.”

    Then we start going sequentially through the “more phonics” section. The first few sections are waaay easy. I am sure they could read those sooner, but I am already skipping around in the other sections so I just deal with it. Then I just help them as the the books get harder and harder.

    I use some of the printouts to work on letter formation and handwriting but I am not as consistent with that.

    I have recommended starfall to many people over the years because it really has a lot of great content and I have had great results using it.

    I used it to teach my now 10 year old and my 8 year old to read before they went to kindergarten. I am working with my twin boys to learn to read before they go to kindergarten in the fall.

    My twin five year olds are working through Backpack Bear’s books. My 8 and 10 year olds were reading a couple of grade levels above their peers by the time they went to kindergarten. No one is brilliant or anything, we just spent time working on it before each of them went to school.

  3. Starfall Review by Jennifer A Bhunpaen
    Pros: Easily to follow
    Cons: Geared toward classroom, difficult to adjust to homeschool

    Grades Used: Pre-K

    Pre-K homeschool package- very much set up for a classroom. A bit difficult to wade through and change for one child alone at home. I like the materials but not all that homeschool friendly. The website is great.

  4. Starfall Review by Deborah merkin
    Pros: Typical k school type curriculum your child should be reading well by the end of the year covers science history nice books cute stuffed animals
    Cons: Very classroom centered around a group when i bought it it was close to 1000 not a good program for struggling readers

    Grades Used: K two years ago

    long story…… I homeschooled my now third grader(still homeschooled) only because she was closed out of the registration to the private school where we send our kids. I wanted a good schooly program i could trust. I bought the whole curriculum with all the bells and whistles. I think that it cost close to 1000. First ( or second day) focuses on all the beginning sounds of the kids names in the class and getting to know them. There was also a focus on school rules. We had to modify it a lot. My daughter also has a reading disability and it was way too much at once for her. We used it for a month or two. Later we did use all of the books and workbooks. I was about to throw out my two big bindres of the downloaded curriculum but when I looked at it I decided that there are many good parts to it. I am going to use some of it for my new kindergartener who is going to be homeschooled on purpose this time. Bottom line is there are some nice points to it ,but it is meant for a classroom. It was very pricey.

  5. Starfall Review by Beth
    Pros: Free, fun, great way to add some extra reading practice
    Cons: Not sure little people need to be on the computer

    Grades Used: PreK, K, 1

    I am now on my 3rd child using Starfall, and they have all loved it! When I started homeschooling my first daughter, she wanted to do everything HERSELF, even at the age of 5, LOL. Starfall was a great way to let her do some reading lessons on her own. The extra activities are a lot of fun too. All 3 of mine feel like “big kids” because they get to use the computer by themselves. My son is 6 years younger than my younger daughter, and Starfall is a great way to keep him busy while I work with the other two. I love that I can print off the booklets for them to color and read with me, too.

  6. Starfall Review by Wendy
    Pros: Great early learning site!
    Cons: Very easy to play and not read.

    Grades Used: PreK

    My kids really enjoy this site and it’s a great QUIET TIME activity. My kids aren’t reading, but it has helped them at least get familiar with letters and sounds while having a BLAST!

  7. Starfall Review by Tenessa Porterfield
    Pros: easy, fun, kids love it
    Cons: Too easy to just do the interactive stuff without actually reading any words

    Grades Used: Pre-k thru 1st

    My kids love this site, and I encourage it’s use, but if I want them to really learn to read, I have to work with them on the site so they are actually participating in the activities and not just making the characters on screen make funny sounds. It’s a good supplement to any reading curriculum but not a stand alone curriculum for sure.

  8. Starfall Review by Nadja Nehring
    Pros: fun and easy to use
    Cons: some things can be done without understanding them on the site

    Grades Used: preschool

    I really like this site. My daughter “plays” on it all the time and it encourages her to read and do math problems and she has a lot of fun with it. The math part of the page is fun as well and they have some math songs to memorize the multiplication table which is great. Unfortunately you don’t actually have to find out the solution for most of the problems but just drag the numbers over the right place and the computer recognizes it as correct, so I don’t think my daughter even tries to remember figure out the math problem but just drags the solution over every possible placeholder until she finds the right one. Other than that, the site is great, and for free! You can’t beat that!

  9. Starfall Review by Chrissy

    My kids love this site. It is very user friendly and tons of fun. The best site for early learning. Well Done Starfall

  10. Starfall Review by Cendi
    Pros: it is the MOST user (both kid and parent) friendly site I have EVER used
    Cons: NONE

    Grades Used: ages 2 - 1st

    I would recommend this site to ANYONE/EVERYONE who wants to have a successful time teaching youngsters to be happy readers! 🙂

  11. Starfall Review by Mary
    Pros: Free; fun; memorable learning songs
    Cons: Too much sight reading

    Grades Used: Pre-K

    First, I only used the free online content, so some of my review may not apply to the more comprehensive for-purchase curriculum.

    My youngest two sons really enjoyed Starfall. They easily memorized all the letter sounds, and loved doing the daily calendar.

    After letter sounds, though, I found too many of the online books and activities encouraged guessing or sight reading, not really decoding the words. Since I witnessed similar “phonics” instruction first-hand when my older boys were in public school, I was turned off by it at Starfall. I ended up limiting my children to the alphabet activities, the calendar, and a few other pages.

  12. Starfall Review by Derina
    Pros: Easy, Fun, Interactive
    Grades Used: K-3

    My daughter loved this site. We used it as practice and fun games. Shevdd not know she was learning as well. Wish they had one for older kids

  13. Starfall Review by Tessa Boulter
    Pros: Easy, interactive independent study time for pre-readers
    Grades Used: PreK-K

    My daughter and I discovered this site when she was 3 and still enjoys it at the age of 6. Now that I want her actually LEARNING to read, I sometimes need to monitor her use and that she is really trying to read the books, not just doing the interactive part of it. Love the different activities to do, but have never gotten into the downloads or paid for end of it. This is a great way to introduce phonics as well as using a computer.

  14. Starfall Review by Betty
    Pros: Free, excellent phonics program
    Cons: None

    Grades Used: Pre-K and K

    My daughter learned to read using this program! I plan to use it again when my youngest is ready.

  15. Starfall Review by Lois Tebo
    Pros: fun independent time on computer
    Cons: none

    Grades Used: pre-1st

    Starfall has fun, complete phonics lessons and is a great reward or interactive to supplement other lessons.

  16. Starfall Review by Dianne
    Pros: Fun, colorful, and FREE!
    Cons: Limited age/ability range.

    Grades Used: Kdg, 1st.

    Starfall is really a fun learning site. It is easy for children to follow along and progress. There are printables for the lessons and my children enjoy seeing those after they’ve done the work online. There are also story books you can print.

    In addition to learning letters and reading, there is a calendar they can complete each day that reviews the days of the week, the date, year, and any special events can be noted. My children enjoy it.

  17. Starfall Review by Sharon Webb
    Pros: graphics, ease of use
    Grades Used: preschool

    I use starfall to reinforce my son’s current reading program, and he loves it….

  18. Starfall Review by Andrea Halstead
    Pros: My kids love it
    Cons: just sitting there watching things

    Grades Used: Prek--2

    I use this mostly for my youngers. It gets them using the computer and learning their letters and letter sounds. I have printed off the Kindergarten sheets and used them in conjunction with the site to learn about short vowels. I use it as a supplement to reading and phonics. The kids enjoy watching the videos and reading the online books

  19. Starfall Review by Alma Torres
    Pros: easy, fun and FREE!
    Cons: Only for younger children

    Grades Used: pre K-1st

    My boys loved using this. Great for learning early phonics. I totally recommend Starfall.

  20. Starfall Review by Jackie
    Pros: very easy to use, interactive, fun
    Grades Used: Pre-K

    I use this website for my 2 year to learn his letters. This is a great way for him to practice the letters he has trouble with, and he loves playing the games on there.

    I really like that they have the reading broken down into the different sounds the letter combination’s make.

  21. Starfall Review by Maree
    Pros: Free! Fun, interactive, VERY easy to use
    Cons: none

    Grades Used: Pre-K, K

    I have used Starfall with three of our children as a supplement when learning to read. I’m just starting our next child with it and she likes it too (she’s pre-k). Great resource.

  22. Starfall Review by Jamie
    Pros: fun, easy to use site, keeps child's attention
    Grades Used: Preschool-Third grade

    We love @ our house!! My oldest has used it since he was 6. And since then, his little brother has used it & learned from it, as well as, their little sister who just turned 3 loves to tell me she wants to do her homeschool on starfall! 🙂

  23. Starfall Review by Lisa
    Grades Used: Pre k, K, 1st

    You can’t beat FREE!!! Both of my kids love this site – it’s so easy to use, they can do it all themselves! They are having fun and reading at the same time!

  24. Starfall Review by Tiffani Crews
    Pros: easy access online, fun, colorful
    Grades Used: 1st

    Free, fun and full of action. No child will hate to do their “school work” on this website! 🙂 My little guy thinks its just games, not school. Fun learning is the best learning.

  25. Starfall Review by Tammy McNair
    Pros: Free, Fun, Easy to use
    Cons: Only for youner children

    Grades Used: K

    Great product!

  26. Starfall Review by LaRee
    Pros: Free, Fun
    Grades Used: Pre-K, K

    My kids loved this when they were first learning to read. Great for learning early phonics AND early computer skills.

  27. Starfall Review by connie newman
    Pros: it was easy to use
    Cons: didnt do older kids

    Grades Used: K.1.2

    i really liked this,FREE is my fav!

  28. Starfall Review by Peaches Tyson
    Pros: fun and easy to use
    Cons: none

    Grades Used: Prek-k

    Although Starfall is primarily for Prek-k, it can be used for 1-2 grades for the lower students.

  29. Starfall Review by Molly Lemen
    Pros: free, easy to use, fun
    Cons: lots of computer time, hard if can't use a mouse well

    Grades Used: pre-k

    Free easy to use and fun. My 3 1/2 year has used it for almost two years now and he still loves it. Need a minute? having a ‘bad school day’? get on starfall. A very useful tool.

  30. Starfall Review by Trish Lemar
    Pros: free

    My daughter loved using this. It was great that she could work on the sounds as we were covering them.

  31. Starfall Review by Olivia
    Pros: easy for kids, fun, safe
    Cons: doesn't want to get off

    Grades Used: Pre-K to 1st

    My daughter (1st grade) uses the program to reinforce what I’m teaching and loves it. My two year old son watches and is learning too!

  32. Starfall Review by Linda Hargraves
    Pros: Fun and effective with many levels of learning
    Cons: Need computer access

    Grades Used: PreK-2

    I used this fantastic website when my daughter was learning to read. She is 13 now, and I am still recommending it to other moms. That is how helpful and memorable the site is. I had another mother of a teen mention to me just yesterday that she posts the link on a homeschool website on a monthly basis just so that moms with younger kids won’t miss out on this terrific resource.

  33. Starfall Review by Julia James
    Pros: Fun and free!
    Cons: they don't want to stop...

    Grades Used: PreK, K, 1st

    I like this site for reinforcement. It is nice to get someone other than mommy telling them what sounds the letters say! When we finish a new sound in our Phonics Pathways book, we go to Starfall and practice reading it. I can trust the kids on this site and they are not going to get bored and want to change activities right away. Good resource!

  34. Starfall Review by Lydia
    Pros: intuitive, very easy for kids to use
    Cons: addictive

    Grades Used: PreK-1st

    We love Starfall. From the time our kids are 2 or 2.5 and learn to use the mouse, they love to play with this website. It is great that they don’t even have to know how to “click and drag” with the mouse – just click. One of my daughters played with Starfall for about a year, and then wanted to “do reading” like her sister, so she learned to read when she was almost 3 (for which I credit Starfall, since I wasn’t working with her much on reading readiness at age 2). It teaches letter sounds, basic phonics, sounding out words, and more, all with games and activities. It also has lots of sight words that the children absorb along the way as they play some of the games in the more advanced sections of the site. My (2.5 year old) son asks for this first thing in the morning, so we have to limit computer time already, but I have not yet found anything in Starfall that I strongly object to. I think it’s really great for helping kids learn reading basics in a fun and non-pressured way.

  35. Starfall Review by Karen
    Pros: easy and fun
    Cons: addictive

    Grades Used: PreK-1st (currently)

    My son loves Starfall! Even though he is reading beyond its level, he still plays it sometimes. Although I’m thankful for the site and am rating it five stars, I do have one reservation. Granted, not everyone has a problem with this, but I do. I don’t like the Earth Day song. When I first heard of Earth Day 22 years ago, I figured out rather quickly that it was more about worshipping the Creation rather than the Creator. I would rather my son have as little exposure to this concept as possible, but there is no way to block that feature.

    Other than my one reservation, it is an excellent resource!

  36. Starfall Review by Kristen Romano
    Pros: FREE!
    Cons: Repetitive

    FREE and online!! I used this as a supplement while teaching my daughter how to read. Unfortunately by the time I found out about it she had pretty much already learned much of what it covered. However, it was great review. Fun and engaging.
    My oldest now helps my 2 year old do some of the games on it. The are learning their sign language alphabet and like watching the cartoon do the signs for each letter.
    You can’t beat something this engaging and FREE!

  37. Starfall Review by Heather
    Pros: Online, Free
    Cons: NA

    Grades Used: Toddler through K

    Starfall is a wonderful site for letter recognition and early reading. My three year old loves to do her own “learning” while her older siblings are working. The songs and videos keep her attention while she learns.

  38. Starfall Review by Glenda W
    Pros: Free! Fun!
    Cons: Repetitive

    Grades Used: K-2

    Starfall is an a great addition to our homeschool. It allows computer time that is educational and fun. I recently found on the Starfall website that you can print teacher resources worksheets to go with the lessons. I only wish they would add some new content.

  39. Starfall Review by Nicole Hale
    Pros: Free, easy to use
    Cons: no new content

    Grades Used: pre K

    My 3-yo dd absolutely LOVES this site! I can put her on it to do her “school” while I’m teaching her brothers. It’s fun and entertaining and she’s actually learning while she plays. She tends to take over my laptop for hours on end, but then she’s already pre-reading – on her own! You can’t complain about that. My only regret is that there is no new content – nothing has been changed that I know if in quite some time. So when she’s gone through everything, there’s nothing new to challenge her. But it’s free, so I can’t complain.

  40. Starfall Review by M Thomas
    Pros: fun, easy to navigate
    Cons: none

    Grades Used: PreK, K, 1st

    This free website if fun for kids. It is a great supplement to any phonics/reading program. It is simple to use and easy for a 4 year old to navigate. They have a great time while they are learning.

  41. Starfall Review by Chrystal Richerson

    I love it that my daughter loves to go to this site for her “fun” computer time!

  42. Starfall Review by Beth Hollmann
    Pros: Fun, interactive site that allows independent learning
    Cons: My children all use the computer but I'm not sure that's a good thing...

    Grades Used: Pre-K-1

    Starfall was a HUGE blessing to me when I started homeschooling my first daughter. She wanted to learn everything independently. Starfall allowed her to work independently on her reading skills, and she loved it! My second daughter is only a year younger, and was eager as could be to jump in with her sister in the learning.

    IN addition to great online learning, they have the level 1 books available to download and print out at home. If you prefer, you can also purchase them pre-printed in color from their online store. I printed out the books and used them with my girls, and they enjoyed that. They have other printables available as well.

    I plan to use this next year with my son, when he turns 4. I know he will enjoy using the computer, and it will help him keep busy while I work with his sisters. I’m excited to see that they have an ABC app available for the iPod/iPad!

  43. Starfall Review by Theresa
    Pros: keeps child's attention, teaches reading skills using fun games
    Grades Used: PK, K, 1, 2

    My 3 oldest children have all used this website to review reading skills. My 2nd grader with special needs asks if he can play on Starfall. I recomened this site for everyone.

  44. Starfall Review by Holly Garza
    Pros: fun, interactive, easy to use, colorful, encourages reading and enhances it
    Cons: too much computer time?

    Grades Used: Kingeraten and First grade (currently)

    I really love this site for my daughter. It’s fun, interactive, useful and free!~Holly Garza

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