Lightning Literature and Composition

We are big readers in this house and are always at the library checking out books. Some of the reading is for fun and other times it's required reading for school. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for a lit course for my girls this coming school year so I was excited  to be given the opportunity to review Lightning Literature and Composition-Grade 8 from Hewitt Homeschooling.

What is it?

Lightning Lit & Comp is a full year course for 8th and 9th graders that is designed to help develop a love and understanding of literature while exposing the student to different kinds of literature that they might not have read on their own. It's also a way to help them become better writers by reading different genres of stories and books as well as practicing different writing techniques. Lightning Lit takes what a student reads and helps them dig deeper into the book through a variety of methods and exercises.

We received 3 books for this level:
This course covers several books:
  • Stories & Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children (a book of short stories & poems)
  • Treasure Island
  • A Day of Pleasure
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Hobbit
  • My Family and Other Animals
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
The student guide breaks each book or short story down into different sections that include an introduction to what is being read, a vocabulary list (which you could turn into your own vocab/spelling list), comprehension questions, a literary lesson, a mini-lesson and a variety of writing lessons. There isn't any writing in this book though the student completes different exercises in a notebook or on paper.

The student workbook is a consumable book that has the student working on grammar, analyzing parts of the book, doing crossword puzzles, short writing exercises and discovering the author's purpose just to name a few things. These activities vary by book which in my opinion keeps things new and engaging for the student.

The teachers guide contains a weekly planning schedule for 36 weeks as well as all the answers to everything the student completes in the workbook. It also has the discussion questions that aren't listed in the students book.

How did we use it?

The first story that was covered was A Crazy Tale from the book Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children.  Because this book is used interspersed between the full books throughout this course, I decided to buy it as we would be using it often. (hint, it's easy and inexpensive to find used online). All the other books in this curriculum are easily found at our local library though when purchasing this course, you do have the option of buying this course with all the literature books included.

I used this course with one of my 14 year old daughters about 3 times a week (only because it was summertime, during the school year it will be every day). She enjoyed diving into not only her reading assignments but looked forward to what the student guide & workbook taught her. She felt that the "clues in the story" section helped teach her to really pay attention to what she was reading and looking beyond just the words on the page and really see what the author was trying to convey. At the end of the 1st chapter in the student guide, it taught her how to take notes which was something she hadn't done much of in a while. Also included at the end of each chapter is several writing exercises you or your child can choose to complete. If you didn't have a writing curriculum you were using, you could easily use these exercises to fulfill a writing course!

I enjoyed the discussion questions that were in the teacher guide as being able to converse about the book showed me how much she was understanding about what she had read. I have also taken the vocabulary words and plugged them into the curriculum she uses for spelling & vocab. I love being able to take what we are using in one subject and use it for another subject.

My thoughts?

Bottom line, this curriculum has been a huge hit in our house! In fact, a few weeks after we started using it, I decided to go ahead and purchase Lightning Lit for two of my other children for this coming school year. I love the ease of use and how well everything is clearly laid out in not only the student books but the teachers guide. It makes this curriculum one you can just pick up and teach. Being a busy mom, not having to plan out the lessons is something I appreciate! Also, at this level, my daughter was able to do most of everything on her own. I also love the great literature these courses cover and am looking forward to this coming school year and seeing what all my children will learn!

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