What is Starwords?
Starwords is a flashcard app that helps children learn to read. It uses tried-and-tested teaching methods to allow you and your child to practice reading together, whenever, wherever.
Where did the idea for Starwords come from?
I have a five-year-old son, Tom, who is learning to read at primary school. Along with books to read, his teachers sent home sets of laminated flashcards.
Although he was making quick progress, it was sometimes tricky to keep his attention and make using the cards fun rather than a chore. It was also difficult to track. If Tom read a word after some hesitation, was that an improvement because he couldn’t get it at all yesterday, or a backwards step because last time he got it, but today he’s tired or distracted?
I had the idea for Starwords to try and solve some of these problems. An app seemed like an ideal way to create flashcards without the effort of printing or laminating, a convenient way to save progress and more importantly, be fun to use!
How important is it for kids to start reading early?
Children learn at a much faster pace in their first 6 years than at any other stage in their development so starting to read as early as possible has numerous benefits for any child. By making reading a fun, collaborative experience between you and your child from a young age, you’ll nurture a love of learning that will continue throughout their lives.
Many studies suggest that early readers have better communication skills, improved attention spans and better concentration. Learning to recognise words by sight will also enable children to quickly learn more from and about their environment and increase confidence and independence.
How does the app work and what is the science behind it?
At the moment the app is very simple. Parents can build their own word sets to practice with their children, and we’ve curated sets of words from different sources, like the “Letters and Sounds” publication from the UK Government’s Department for Education, which UK schools use as a reference.
I think it’s important that the app is a supplement to the work already happening in the classroom, so I don’t want to build a replacement to schools or individual teachers’ own methods. What we can do though is provide an engaging experience to keep children interested and motivated, and use notifications to encourage tried-and-tested “spaced repetition” learning techniques.
What will the business model look like?
Initially, we’re going to launch as a paid app for parents. We’re also looking to trial the app in a number of schools for teachers to easily track their pupils’ progress. The trial will be free, but we’d like to move to a yearly subscription model.
➤ Learn more at Starwords.co
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