For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read. Reading has brought me so much joy throughout my life and there are titles I have read over and over again. Because of this, it is of great importance to me that my children are exposed to a wide variety of good literature. I was thrilled to receive a copy of the Grade 3 Lightning Lit Set from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources to use and review with my eleven year old son.
About Lightning Lit
I received both the Student Workbook (consumable) and the Teacher’s Guide to use in my home. We purchased the first two books required in the program which were both under $10 each. I did look up each of the required books for the entire year of study and they were all around the $10 mark and easy to find for purchase – with the exception of one that is now out of print which I found used copies of.
I did select a level slightly below my son’s current grade in school, as I knew we were going to be using this during the spring/summer months which I try to keep light. We have not done a formal literature study program before, so I felt the grade 3 set would be a good fit for our current needs.
The Lightning Lit series uses real books in their entirety, rather than some reading programs that use excerpts from books, for the lessons, There is a good variety of titles selected and some classics are even included each year. The program focuses on strengthening reading and writing skills and instilling a love for reading.
In the early levels (grades 1-3) the curriculum is very flexible, allowing you to pick and choose from the activities included for each book study. I particularly appreciated this, as we opted not to complete the composition exercises for the first few books since we were still working on finishing up our current writing curriculum. I did read through several of the composition lessons so that I had a good grasp on that aspect of the curriculum for review purposes. We do plan on completing a few of the composition assignments in the future.
The program is structured into weeks, with reading assignments, discussion questions, written exercises, and composition lessons spread over each 5 day week. Since we chose not to complete the composition portions of each week, we were able to complete each weekly section over 3-4 days, depending on the length of the reading passages and how much writing was required. One thing I was pleased to see were the lessons on sentence diagramming. This was not something my son had yet learned, but it was presented in a way that was not complicated or frustrating for him. He was never required to diagram more than 3-5 short sentences in an exercise.
I also appreciated that the comprehension portion of each lesson was presented in a discussion format. I have found in the past that my boys will tend to write very vague answers to comprehension questions, but when answered orally they were much more willing to give more detailed accounts of the events they read about. You could very easily assign just the daily reading passages and then do the oral comprehension questions with your child and still get a very thorough literature study as a result.
The written exercises in the student workbook are varied with no more than 1-2 pages completed a day. Parts of speech, grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, literary elements, reading journaling, coloring pages, puzzles and more are all included. And each page in the student workbook is age appropriate in what is required from the student. There are no pages that require a large amount of writing from the child, which is always a plus for my boys.
The teacher’s guide includes instructions for each day of study, discussion questions, instructional helps for teaching new concepts, answers to the student pages, composition lessons, and optional “Extending the Lesson” activities. There are also pages of handwriting lines in various formats in the back you can copy and give to your student for writing assignments if desired.
We were able to complete the first two books during our review period – Sarah Plain and Tall and Rickshaw Girl. My son enjoyed both short chapter books and read them independently without trouble. He is really looking forward to the next book – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, since he is already familiar with the story. We have decided to read it aloud together, since it is a longer book and also one of my childhood favorites.
He was able to complete each day’s written work in 5-10 minutes with little to no help from me, which was great. There are a lot of great books included in not only the level we received, but in future grades as well (yes, I looked ahead). Because of how easy Lightning Lit is to use, the great books used, and the great variety of activities included, I have decided to not only continue using it with my 11 year old, but plan on purchasing a higher level set for my high-schooler as well! I am even considering the possibility of not using a separate grammar book for my 11 year old for the coming year since the grammar and writing instruction in this program is pretty thorough.
Overall, we both are enjoying Lightning Lit and I will be adding it to the ranks as one of our must-have homeschool curriculum resources.
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