I really like the Starfall website and I have been using it a lot to work with the letter of the week and review other letters of the alphabet. I have a projector connected to the Internet and I use the Starfall website for letter sounds and to read phonics books. I do it as a whole group activity.
I always put a child with good mouse control in charge. When working with letter sounds I ask the child to click on the letter of the week first and then he/she can choose two or three other letters to click and we watch the animation. If you are working with a SMART board, the need to have a student with good mouse skills is eliminated.
They usually choose the first letter in their names besides the letter of the week, which is a must do. I find that doing two or three letters per day is enough and that leaves them wanting for more.
Here is one of my students leading the Starfall letter sound work.
This is the main screen for letter sounds on the Starfall website.
My students love to learn new things but as we know from child development, children love to review things they already know. They know some of the letters by heart and they keep asking to do the Starfall alphabet again and again. It is like when they ask me (or their parents) to read the same book many times. It could also be that knowing the letters so well and being able to predict what the next word for that letter is going to be, gives them a sense of ‘being knowledgeable’.
Anyway, repetition if meaningful and if it reflects students’ interests is a wonderful way to internalize and sediment knowledge. My students are also using this knowledge in different contexts thinking critically, which is ultimately what I want them to do.
The Starfall link is http://www.starfall.com/
Amelia Mello, M.Ed.