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My Ellie loves language arts! She definitely views herself as a reader and a writer. Beginner chapter books don’t scare her, and you’ll often find her writing plays during our Family Writing Time. She has the whole “invented spelling” thing down!
I was excited to review the Grade 1 Lightning Lit Set from Hewitt Homeschooling. I really wanted to work with Ellie on basic grammar and spelling, and help her continue to build her reading skills, especially reading comprehension.
The Grade 1 Lightning Lit Set included the Teacher’s Guide, the Student Workbook, and a copy of Aesop’s Fables.
What Else Do I Need?
A different book is read each week, so you’ll need a copy of each. I discovered that most of the classics were already on our bookshelves. I checked a couple of books out from the library, and I’ve ordered a few others through Amazon.
You’ll also need basic supplies, and a composition book to keep writing assignments in. There are lined pages of a variety of sizes in the back of the book you can copy and store, but I thought it was easier just to buy an inexpensive notebook!
This set provides instruction in Literature, Grammar and Mechanics, and Composition. These three strands make up the core of the program. You’ll also find materials for your child to create a Reading Journal and Dictionary. These are optional.
Phonics is not covered, nor is there emphasis on memorizing sight words.
How to Use This Program
This program covers 36 full weeks of language arts instruction.
It’s important to note that the Teacher’s Guide is essential. I’ve gotten away with not purchasing it for many programs, but this one won’t work without it. All the daily lesson plans are included inside its pages, and there are places to record answers to varying questions throughout the year. Your child will miss a whole lot if you try to “wing it” with just the student workbook.
The program is designed for a four-day week, which is the homeschooling schedule we use. Day Five is indicated as a “Free Day” and there are some extension activities included, if desired. It was nice not having to try to rearrange things to fit our schedule. 😀
Each week in the Teacher’s Manual starts with a “Week at a Glance” page. This identifies key objectives for the week, and what materials you’ll need. There’s an “Optional Materials” section, that you can use if desired. We occasionally found a related book to read in this section, but I usually skipped that part.
After the overview, the Teacher’s Manual jumps right into daily lesson plans. You’ll find directions, comprehension questions (and spaces to record answers), and more inside.
The Student Workbook contains all the pages your child needs to complete the activities. There were grammar worksheets, sentence puzzles, and more.
What Did I Think?
This was a really good program for Ellie. She was able to work on her reading comprehension and grammar skills. I’m glad I decided to work through Grade 1 instead of Grade 2, because even though she can read the words in the books in Grade 2, she didn’t yet have the comprehension skills needed. Her spelling and grammar also needed lots of work, and the scope of grammar in this book was appropriate.
Ellie liked that the daily lessons were pretty short. It didn’t include a lot of repetitive busy work like the curriculum we were using previously. She also enjoyed the composition assignments, except the editing and rewriting parts. She just wanted to write the rough draft and call it good. Going through the writing process was good for her, and it actually motivated her to watch her spelling and capitalization more carefully the first time around so she didn’t have as much to fix!
Her favorite piece so far was a “How to” style composition from Week 4. She picked how to cook scrambled eggs as her topic. She thinks she’ll write down more recipes and create an Ellie’s Cookbook. (I hope she does!)
The program uses real books to teach reading skills, which Ellie and I both enjoyed. I think there is great value in reading books with words both above and below grade level, instead of merely reading leveled readers.
I really liked the questions asked on the Reading Journal pages. They allowed me to easily check comprehension. However, a Grade 1 student who does not enjoy writing, or who does not yet view himself as a writer, would probably be overwhelmed. Dictating would be a good solution for those students.
Also, if your child does not already have a solid foundation of phonics and sight words, you’ll probably want to supplement with an additional program.
We are going to finish up this set with Ellie when we start school again, and I’m planning on purchasing the Grade 2 Lightning Lit Set for her. It was a really good fit!
But, I don’t see this program working well for some of my other children, based on what I noted above.
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