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Technology and Family Literacy

Below is a letter I sent to the director of STARFALL, an online lilteracy program for kids. Pumarosa is a non-profit educational program of Starfall,.

This is just a quick note to give an update on how Starfall and Pumarosa work well as a "family literacy" program.

I teach in a library in a Latino community, and most of my students are working mothers. Many of them have computers in  their homes - which they don't use.Their teen-age kids use them!

As they learn English on pumarosa, they gain confidence and begin to use their computer at home more.

A big problem has always been the frustration that  immigrant mothers face when they cannot help their small children learn English at home.

About 6 months ago I showed everybody how to access Starfall. At first I tiought it would help them with pronunciation and reading. But actually they all liked it a lot, and several told me that they were using it with their kids at home!

This is very important to them because they feel embarrassed when their kids have to help them with English. But with Pumarosa and Starfall these mothers feel much more confident and actively involved with their children's education.

Another note: I use the smart phone as an educational tool, and it helps a great deal to provide  lessons to working adults. Years ago they coined the term "Bridging the Digital Divide" - well now it is a reality.

 

Comments

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hello Paul, Thanks for sharing the letter you sent to Starfall. It sounds like this is a useful site for children and their parents. Would you be able to give us an overview of the Starfall website and how it supports families who are learning English? Many of us work in family literacy programs or --like you-- teach adults who have children.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP

 

Paul Rogers's picture
One hundred

Susan, STARFALL.COM  is a commercial educational site that teaches kids to read and it includes a lot of free cartoon lessons based on phonics. But I am not part of STARFALL and only show it in my classes, so I wrote to the staff to ask for a more thorough overview. 

As I mentioned, I showed it to my students, especially to help them learn the alphabet. Then  some of them went home and shared it with their kids....and came back and told me they had a great time learning English with their kids!! There are stories, also, and one student liked Zac The Rat....!!!!!!!!

 

Leecy's picture
One hundred

Thanks for your comments, Paul. I hope that others here will share sites that are similar to Starfalll but free. Any suggestions?

Paul, you said, "Pumarosa is a non-profit educational program of Starfall," What is your relationship to that site? I work extensively with Pre-K-12 teachers who enroll in PBS TeacherLine courses to acquire better skills to teach children how to read better. Some mention Starfall among their resources. 

I hope that similar but free resources are shared here as well. Let's talk more about using technology to teach reading and promote family literacy. Love the topic! Thanks. Leecy

Paul Rogers's picture
One hundred

Leecy - In a nutshell, STARFALL is the 'owner' of Pumarosa. I negotiated with them over 15 years ago to set up Puma, and actually am not an employee nor part of the company. Pumarosa now is an educational program of STARFALL, which is a non-profit 501C3. The irony is that I am not eligible to write grants or even get employed!

Leecy's picture
One hundred

"Irony" is a kind term, Paul... :) Have you considered applying for a Pumarosa non-profit status? I know the process is very demanding but, from what I hear from others, worth the effort.  I imagine that you would attract a lot of funding that way. Leecy

Paul Rogers's picture
One hundred

Thanks, Leecy - and, yes, I plan on applying for non-profit status this year actually. I had to get some ducks lined up but now I am ready. The thing is - I cannot do it under Pumarosa because it already is under the non-profit status of Starfall and I am not affiliated with SF. SF will donate some materials to me for the parents in my classes, though. The addition of the smart phone thumb drive will be the focus of funding. I want to promote its use to...everybody!! 

Leecy's picture
One hundred

Hat's off for all the good work you do,Paul, and best wishes. Leecy

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