Starfall is an amazing supplement for your up and coming readers. Your little ones can review the alphabet and the sounds, sing songs, play games, and watch short movies reminiscent of the old Sesame Street shorts, only for a younger generation.
….But I digress. This isn’t yet ANOTHER review of Starfall. There are already an abundance of those online.
No, everyone knows Starfall rules. So, instead of another review, this is how to maximize the time your child spends using Starfall for learning their letters and sounds. Spefically, this post is referring to the ABC's section in Starfall.
Yes, you could turn your child loose on the site and let them click around while you tend to other things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Or, you could maximize your child’s learning time, so that you can get on with the rest of your day. Learning can be an ongoing thing, but active, formal “school-like” learning should be limited to no more than 4 hours a day. Actually, for the very small kids, say, those under 7; it should be limited to 2 hours. Just sayin’.
Anyway, here are the Top 5 Games to Utilize Starfall for learning the alphabet. (There is also the top 5 ways to Utilize Starfall for Learning to Read, but that’s another story).
But wait there’s more!
In addition to getting in some great practice and reinforcement of letter identification and sounds, these games also teach: That it’s ok to make mistakes
Don’t be so quick to help or correct your child. Let them click on what they want. Making mistakes and correcting them is one of the most effective learning tools. So, back off.
Learn to persevere
Sometimes when we make too many errors, it’s easy to become frusterated. It happens. It’s a part of life. Be encouraging when that happens. Let your child know that if they keep trying, they will succeed eventually. I am not saying that they should be reduced to tears of frustration. Give them a few tries, but at this age, once it’s not fun anymore, help them find the right answer and move on.
Learn to let it go (moms)
Too many errors made can make parents worry. Don’t worry. Your child has plenty of time and will master reading before you know it. Go with the flow.
Ok, so now for the part that you’ve all been waiting for:
The Top 5 Games to Utilize Starfall
1. Letter Draw
Using your trusty set of magnetic letters, have your child pull out random letters from a container. He then, finds the same letter on the screen and click on it. Remember to have him say the sound!
2. Find the Sound
Sit with your child and ask him to find the letter that makes the “a” sound, or “f” sound. You can quiz them as long as they are enjoying. Let them click whichever letter they think it is, even if it is wrong. Once they go through the animation, they will see for themselves and then they can try again.
3. Spell Your Name
Click on the letters that spell your child’s name. If that is too easy, try for a sibling’s name, pet’s name, or friend’s name.
4. Find the Colors
The Starfall letters are like colorful blocks, each one with a different color. Have junior indentify all the letters that are brown, red, or green. Younger children may rely on the color and that’s ok, because once they click the letter, they will told what the letter and sound are. For children who know their colors and letters, encourage them to practice the sounds.
5. Match Game
Along the bottom of the screen are the vowels in lower case font. Ask your child to match the vowels to their capital letter. Click on the matches.
Best of all Starfall is (largely) free.