How I Use It
When I taught Kindergarten, I would use it as one of my centers. Once I looped up to 1st grade with the same students, I allowed those who struggled with letters and letter-sounds to play with the letters they needed the most in the ABC Section. I would allow my more more advanced readers to play with the word families and the short stories in the LEARN TO READ Section. My advanced students would explore long vowels through the stories in the LEARN TO READ Section. For those students reading the stories, I would mute the sound so that they could practice the strategy instead of depending on the computer to read the story to them. I would also give them an opportunity to explore the IT'S FUN TO READ Section. I would also print off the stories so that they could take them home to practice. However, many of my students didn't seem interested in the alphabet after a while. Those students who are reading the stories tend to be more interested in finding what moves in the picture than reading.
Based on my experience, the website did very little to teach my students. When presented with a topic that I haven't taught, my students failed to grasp the new concept through the website's use of visual and musical stimulation. However, it supported what they learned in Fundations. For instance, the site targeted letter sounds by repeating them over which helped my ELLs and those who had a hard time connecting the letter-symbol and the sound. I think that it would be helpful if the site promoted more active learning vs. passive learning. It would also be wonderful if the site would adjust its level of difficulty based on the interaction the child has with the site. For several of the activities, there's no wrong answer. That makes me question how students will be able to determine how to appropriately apply the skill independently.