Starfall is a free website that teaches children how to read and write in English.
Designed for first grade, Starfall is also useful for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and second grade. Founded in 2002, the website teaches children how to read by using games and phonics. In May 2007, Starfall had 987,000 visitors, which was a 300 percent increase from the May of the previous year. Methods used by the website are based on the research of G. Reid Lyon from the National Institutes of Health and Edward J. Kame'enui from the University of Oregon.
The website is free. Starfall does not use advertising to generate revenue. Instead, the cost of running it is covered by money from Blue Mountain Arts, as well as the money made from its workbook printouts.
Starfall was founded in 2002 by Stephen Schutz, his wife Susan Polis Schutz, and their son, Jared Schutz Polis. Starfall arose from Blue Mountain Arts, a publishing house in Boulder, Colorado founded by Stephen Schutz. Starfall received this name because the founders believed that the name "evoked wonder and delight". Stephen Schultz had trouble reading books when he was nine years old, so he decided to help young readers by creating this website.
In 2006, Starfall launched Pumarosa, which helps Spanish speakers learn English.
Four reading levels
Starfall has four reading levels to teach children how to read. The levels, in order from the most basic to the most advanced are: "learning ABCs", "early beginning reading", "intermediate beginning reading", and "advanced beginning reading".
The first level teaches preschoolers about the ABCs. At this level, the website provides learners with all the letters of the alphabet in the upper case form and in the lower case form. When the learners see words appear on the screen, they hear the sounds of all the letters that compose a word. In the early beginning level, learners create words through the addition of consonants to different word family. The letters in every word are highlighted while they are read to the learner.
In the intermediate beginning reading level, readers can bring the books they will read to life before they read them. The learner can read about eminent artists and magic tricks. In the advanced beginning reading level, children can read a variety of books, including nonfiction books, Chinese fables, and comics.