App review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2016
Starfall ABCs
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Starfall ABCs

ABCs and phonics integrate with fun images, animations, and activities

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 26 reviews
Privacy rating
60%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
Pre-K–K
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Communication & Collaboration, Critical Thinking

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4 images

Pros: It's all about the ABCs and giving students a solid understanding of the letters and their sounds.

Cons: There's no way for teachers to review which letters students have mastered.

Bottom Line: Great -- and free -- way to give students clear, engaging examples of the ABCs in action.

Starfall ABCs could be a great way to introduce your whole class to a letter of the day or week. Students can view the pictures and animations with you demonstrating the activities or calling on volunteers to complete them. Students also can work individually on teacher-assigned or self-chosen letters. They may enjoy copying the premise of Starfall ABCs to create their own pictures and songs to teach a letter to their peers, which would further reinforce learning.

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Starfall ABCs is an app that introduces preschoolers to letter sounds and early spelling skills. Students select a letter from Starfall ABCs' main page and watch it make a grand entrance (V's are vacuumed in, and T's come in on a train). The starring letter is sounded out, and several screens follow with images of objects or animations featuring things that start with the letter (pink pigs, zigzags). Many letters are supported by games of matching letters or selecting the letter that doesn't belong (F, f, or x?). Students also can place letters in the right order to form a word and have it sounded out slowly. A silly tone keeps interest high -- for example, turtles play tunes at the end of a train.

Starfall ABCs is a solid early learning app with a thorough approach to presenting the alphabet to preschoolers. Students hear the sounds of each letter repeated often and can both hear and see how each letter is used in words. Each word has some cute animations they can trigger, followed by interactive games such as puzzles and mazes, as well as chances to see words used in sentences. It's an attractive, colorful, and in-depth introduction to the alphabet. One potential downside is that the app only presents short vowel sounds, leaving out the variation in the full range of what vowels do in words. That's a difficult part of learning to read and write in English, and, like many simple early reading apps, Starfall ABCs does explicitly label the vowel sounds as being "short" but has no content to address any other vowel sounds.

Starfall's free website is well-respected for its learn-to-read activities, and the Starfall ABCs app is a streamlined way to access some of the site's content on mobile devices.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Offers enough task variety to keep preschoolers engaged. Interactive sequences are especially stimulating.

Pedagogy

Students see spelled-out words and hear them sounded out. Games teach matching as well as lowercase and uppercase letters. Mazes empower students to make choices and spell words with puzzle pieces.

Support

Presents each letter in a variety of ways: visually, audibly, and within words and sentences.


Common Sense reviewer
Mieke VanderBorght Researcher

Community Rating

(See all 26 reviews) (26 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Rachael B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Cox Landing Elementary School
Lesage, United States
Phonics Review
I thought that this would be a great and mobile extension of the Starfall website; however, I was mistaken. Despite paying for the app, the content that is available on the website is much more engaging to students. With the website, I can also see what they are working on and specifiy different phonics and skills that are unavailable on the mobile app. I would much rather utilize the starfall website instead of purchasing the mobile app.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Unclear whether this product displays personal information publicly.
Unclear whether user-created content is filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Unclear whether users can create or upload content.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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