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Beyond the ABCs of Starfall

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Learn to Read with Phonics, Fluency, and Comprehension


Free online resources and free writing journal printouts courtesy of Starfall.
Level 1
Starfall A B Cs icon ALPHABET: Starfall's ABCs. A perfect starting place for Pre-K and Kindergarten students. If your student finds this too simple, just start with the next step: phonics.
Level 2
learn to read icon PHONICS: Learn to Read. Contains Starfall's sequential phonics series of 15 books with fun letter-pal characters (Zac the Rat, Peg the Hen, etc.). It starts with the short vowels (following the sequence used in most schools), so encourage your student to read the books in order.
free printouts icon FREE PRINTOUTS: Reading and Writing Journals. These are important because children learn decoding skills as they focus on the sounds in words they write. Use these in conjunction with Starfall's Zac the Rat phonics books.
Level 3
fun to read icon FUN!: Fun to Read. Includes the popular All About Me avatar that children customize and dress up in silly clothes while learning to identify the shapes of words. Also includes biographies of famous artists, music, poetry, phonics magic, and rhyming tongue twisters.
Level 4
fluency and comprehension FLUENCY and COMPREHENSION: I’m reading! These texts are arranged in increasing levels of difficulty to reduce reading anxiety and improve comprehension. Children explore fascinating subjects not typically available for emergent readers.
  • Three Little Plays: These cute plays for young children also include word-shape games.
  • Fiction and Non-Fiction Books: The author, Margaret Hillert, was a genius at capturing the imagination of young children while using a limited number of sight-words. These books include a wide range of subjects, such as an indigenous girl playing in the mountains of Ecuador and a boy in Mexico curious about energy and motion.
  • Folk Tales: Oral traditions naturally make use of repeated sentence patterns to enhance listeners' understanding. The repetitive text helps struggling readers develop self-confidence and understand philosophies that they can apply to their own life.
  • Other Books: More advanced students are encouraged to continue reading with Greek Myths retold by Starfall for children and authentic Chinese Fables of dragons and fantasy that emphasize humanism, family, and moral lessons.

For children with disabilities, see Accessibility Information.

What's the best way to teach children to read?

"When I was younger, Starfall was my favorite website. I remember perusing all four levels, flying through every story until I knew them all by heart. I truly believe that Starfall set the foundation for my future."
  — Sarah, Undergraduate at Stanford University

Starfall's successful learn-to-read online activities and printed books were developed and tested in a classroom by Myrna Estes, a first grade teacher in Pittsfield, Massachusetts with over 35 years of experience.

Starfall motivates through positive reinforcement and play. Children delight as they see, hear, and interact with letter-sound relationships in words, sentences, games, and songs.

The Starfall method of reading instruction is based on research:

A Scientific Evidence-Based Assessment by an NICHD-led National Reading Panel shows that the best approaches to reading instruction have the following elements:

  • Explicit instruction in phonemic awareness;
  • Systematic phonics instruction;
  • Methods to improve fluency;
  • Ways to enhance comprehension.

The Starfall curriculum incorporates these same elements into its interactive books and activities.

Where Children Have Fun Learning to Read