August 7th, 2009

I struggle sometimes with the use of the computer for our seven-year-old daughter, the Ladybug. I’m not particularly tech-savvy, and thus have kids who are not as computer competent as many of their peers. I worry about too much screen time, appropriate content, and the sound of these words “Mommy, I just pressed all these buttons and the screen went blank.”

That being said, there’s a site that we’ve been visiting as of late: I came across it one day while visiting the Ladybug on computer day at school. is designed to help children read through the use of phonic games, puzzles and traditional “Click and drag” games. Music, spoken instruction and animal characters all help to make the site engaging and easy to comprehend. The graphics are a little old-fashioned and the action is gentle and slow, but in truth that’s partly why I like it so much. Starfall gives children the time and space to allow children to improve their reading, while also making it fun.

Starfall also has a section for parents with advice on how to best use the site to help your child learn to read, or improve his or her reading skills. There’s also an online store, which has inexpensive, education books, puzzles and games. These products are geared towards educators, but are also ideal for home-schoolers or anyone wanting to extend learning at home.

And, at the end of the day, who doesn’t want to extend learning at home when it can be fun, too?

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This Weeks Tip

This tip can be filed in the category of “things they never taught you in Home Ec.” Want to get the most juice out your lime? Put it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before you squeeze, and you’ll get nearly twice the juice.