Lightning Lit Grade 1 is a complete language arts program with the goals to use whole books and classic literature to teach deep reading and writing skills while maintaining or even increasing the child’s love of reading. The Grade 1 Set includes the Teacher’s Guide and the Student Workbook. You will need to obtain the books for each week (we already owned quite a few and were able to find the rest at the library), a copy of Aesop’s Fables (the program uses the Dover version, but any version will work), and a notebook or copies of the notebook pages from the Student Workbook.
The lessons are set out at a pace of four lessons a week (with an optional fifth day for catch up or to expand on the week’s lessons), focusing on one book per week. If you follow this pacing, you will be able to complete the course in a typical 36 week school year. At about week 14, the program transitions to using longer books and chapter books.
How We used Hewitt Homeschooling
During the review period, we used Lightning Lit four days a week. Each week follows a pattern.
On day one, you read the book, answer comprehension questions orally and complete a grammar worksheet. A composition assignment is also introduced in day one and you brainstorm about the topic you will be writing about.
On day two, you discuss different aspects of the story, character, setting, external and internal details and conflict. You can choose to read the story again, but it is recommended to discuss the book first. There is also another grammar worksheet to complete and planning for the composition. For the reading journal, the student will give a summary of the story, writing your opinion on the story and copying your favorite sentence from the story. On these days, I would usually let Monkey dictate the summary and his opinion and then used the copy work as handwriting practice.
On day three, you read the story again and answer additional comprehension questions. This is the day you write the rough draft of the composition. There are also optional dictionary and alphabet pages to complete this day.
Day four focuses on writing the final draft of the composition. You are also asked to read a fable and complete a simple grammar worksheet.
Most days, Booger would join us for reading the book and answering the comprehension questions. It was fun to see how even a three year old can start to think critically about the books we were reading. It was interesting how he picked up on different details than Monkey!
The only thing I would change is how the pages in the student workbook are labeled. They are labeled as “Monday”, “Tuesday”, and so forth. Which is fine if you follow a standard week schedule, however, we do not. Our typical homeschool week is Wednesday through Saturday, so it got a bit confusing for Monkey when we would work on Monday’s worksheet on Wednesday. In the Teacher’s Guide each weekly section is labeled as “Day One”, “Day Two”, etc which makes much more sense for us.
We loved this program! It has been a struggle this year to find a language arts program that fit Monkey. I appreciated that from the very first page in the Teacher’s Guide, the parent is reminded and encouraged to customize the assignments to your child. Instead of saying “your child should be…” it says “Some children doing this guide won’t be reading yet, and reading aloud to your child is always permissible in this series, regardless of the grade level or child’s reading ability.” In the case of the dictionary and alphabet pages, the author states that these are meant to be a “treat” and if your child doesn’t enjoy them or if you are using another program that covers vocabulary, then they can be skipped.
We had been so focused on working on his letter formation and phonics, that he wasn’t being challenged at all with reading comprehension. This program was a great way to challenge him, without overwhelming him by having to read and write independently. It helped me to realize that we didn’t need to wait until he had mastered reading and writing to move on to comprehension and by taking the pressure off of all of us, he’s really started flourishing!
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