For about a year now, I’ve been hearing everyone in our homeschool community talk about how wonderful Starfall is. “You have to try it!” they’ll say, extolling this learn-to-read program. My daughter is nearly seven so I had been a bit wary to try the program, believing it to be too targeted at a younger audience to interest my child.
That said, we have been playing around on the Starfall website, and I have to admit that it’s not a bad game site. Some of the parts of the site, such as learning the alphabet, are obviously too young and boring for my child, but there are other sections that she finds fun.
This section on books is her favorite part of the website. There are a bunch of interactive books where you can both play with the illustrations as well as follow along as the words are highlighted. Wouldn’t that have been an amazing way to read for those of us who started reading many years ago?My daughter also loves that you can “rate” the books when you are finished reading them, and I know that’s something we all enjoy. How many of us head right to Goodreads after we finish a book, eager to rate it and check it off from our “Want to Read” shelf and add it to our “Read” shelf? What, that’s just me? Never mind… Seriously, though, the rating tool makes it even more fun.
Starfall has graduated levels for reading, too, so when my daughter is finished with the books at her level, she can proceed to fables, comic books, Greek myths, folktales, and more! That excited me because she’ll get to experience many of the things that I loved even earlier that I did, at an age-appropriate level and with support if she doesn’t know a word.
She can choose which ones interest her—or to not read them at all, of course; we are unschoolers—and then have a “reader” help her right away if she wants it (and not if she doesn’t). I couldn’t ask for a more perfect set-up, with the exception of us reading together, which still trumps any computer program.
Still, it’s a really fun way for her to read. Some of the holiday books even let you build snowmen or pumpkins, which she also really enjoys. I’d say check this site out before you decide to buy any expensive reading program; you might just find what you’re looking for, for absolutely free.