Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Curriculum Review

Language arts is such an important subject to teach students from a young age.  My 7 year old son and I have been reviewing a Hewitt Homeschooling program over the past few weeks, and I’m pleased with the gentle lessons we’ve been doing each day.  We have been using the Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Student Workbook ($49.95) and the Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Teacher’s Guide ($29.95).

Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 Curriculum

Hewitt Homeschooling Lightning Literature and Composition Grade 1

Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 can be used for 1st or 2nd graders, but would also be good for more advanced kindergartners, in my opinion.  It is important that your child have a grasp of some basic handwriting and critical thinking skills to be able to really complete the work assigned.  The program does work through these skills slowly, but at least a basic understanding and ability of these needs to be established before beginning.

How It Works

The program is an open-and-go 36 week language arts program that uses great children’s literature and a predictable routine to develop a student’s abilities.  Assignments are given for each day, Monday through Thursday.  Fridays are left open as a free day to either complete missed work, do extra projects, or to simply take off.

Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 works on reading comprehension, grammar and mechanics, composition, communication, and literature appreciation.  We also worked on dictionary skills and reading practice as my son wanted to read the stories to me by the end of the week.

The literature is read at least twice a week, on Monday and Wednesday.  The books are specific to each week.  For example, on Week 1, we read Harold and the Purple Crayon.  There are many other beloved children’s books such as Madeline, Frog and Toad Are Friends, Stellaluna, Mouse Soup, and Curious George Flies a Kite.

Hewitt Homeschooling Lightning Literature Grade 1

The Grammar and Mechanics part works on a student’s punctuation, parts of speech, grammar, capitalization, sentence diagramming, and more on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

For Composition, the student gets to practice writing skills of his own.  It’s very age appropriate, encouraging them to try and give their best effort, even if it is only a sentence or two total.  The program covers creative writing, research papers, poems, and essays.  There are brief, story-related assignments to be done in the student workbook (reading journal pages), and also more creative writing assignments that are on the topic of their choosing.  These assignments can be done in a notebook or on writing paper of your choice.  We just used a regular spiral, but there are also writing pages in the back of the teacher’s book that could be copied and placed in a binder or folder for your students.

Book Breakdown

We were able to find the accompanying children’s books through our public library, so we didn’t have to spend any extra money to implement this program into our daily homeschool schedule.

The Teacher’s Guide is a 318 page softcover book that completely explains how to teach your student.  It gives a daily breakdown of how to do each day’s lesson and answers to worksheet questions from the student workbook.  Check out the Table of Contents and a Sample Chapter here to see the format used.

As you can see, it is laid out very thoroughly.  There are no questions on whether or not you’re doing things correctly.  I really appreciated that the Teacher’s Guide provided a lot of content that couldn’t just be pulled from the student workbook.  The teacher’s guide is full  of great critical thinking questions.  It also includes information to help guide students in thinking about the parts of the story, including characters, setting, internal and external details, and conflict.

The teacher’s guide is also where you’ll find all of the information about the composition assignments to give your student.  It tells you how to encourage them to go about the writing process, including which things to do each day, and gives topics suggestions.  It also gives suggestions for Aesop’s Fables to read each week and how to evaluate that literature as well.

The Student Workbook is a 348 page softback book.  It has 3 holes punched in it, so it could be placed in a large binder of daily work if you organize your curriculum that way.  We put ours in a my son’s huge school binder with a spiral notebook right behind it so he could easily flip to that to do his composition assignments.

The student workbook is very colorful and engaging.  It is also broken down into the 36 weeks.  Each week begins with a cover page telling the student what week number it is, as well as the title and author of the book that they’ll be studying that week.

Following the schedule as outlined in the teacher’s guide, each page is labeled with the week number and day of the week.  It also has some instruction on the page, as well as instructions on how to complete that page of work.  The font is large, and each page continues to be colorful with fun clip art to keep students engaged.

Hewitt Homeschooling Lightning Literature Grade 1 Madeline

Something I really appreciate about the workbook pages is that there’s never a huge amount of work cluttering the page.  It is truly age appropriate for the average 6-7 year old to be able to complete without getting bored or distracted.  It is written to the child, and not down to them.  You can see a sample chapter to get an idea of how it is presented to students.

Our Thoughts

I liked that Lightning Literature and Composition: Grade 1 was thorough without being overwhelming.  While it does touch on all sorts of language arts skills, the lessons are short and concise.  There is a predictable pattern each week as to how the student will be completing work.  For example, my son began being able to predict which days we would be reading the story, which days he would be brainstorming for his own compositions, which days he would be working on grammar and mechanics, and so on.  We worked on the program Monday through Thursday and took Fridays to do the Aesop’s Fables reading since it was a little different than the rest of the work done throughout the week.

While my son is 7 and will be considered a 2nd grader in the fall, we found this program to be helpful for him.  Yes, some of it was very easy for him, but some of it did challenge him.  For example, he had no problem correcting capitalization mistakes, and that built his confidence with the program.  However, he is not a strong writer yet, and this program gave him consistent practice in composing his own pieces of writing without being overwhelming.

I wish we had started this program when he began 1st grade!  I love that the books can be found at the library.  I was also impressed with how much the program encouraged him to read.  Although it wasn’t expressly stated in the program to have your child read the books, by the end of the week, my son would insist on reading the book of the week to me.  He started this the very first week, and I couldn’t believe it!  Without even being asked, he continued doing so each week that we used this program.

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I’ve reviewed The Joy of Discovery for Hewitt Homeschool a while back, so you can check that out.  If you click below, you can also see what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members thought of many other Hewitt Homeschooling books.

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About Jenn L

Jenn lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and 5 children. The family likes to eat healthy and try new recipes. Jenn homeschools all of the kids. She is heavily involved with local bloggers and is slightly addicted to social media.