There are many online options when it comes to teaching a child to read. However, few go beyond the basics and focus on comprehension. Now there is a new homeschool online reading program designed to help the entire family.
When looking for an online solution to reading comprehension, it’s easy to find games and websites geared to young children just starting to read. However, it becomes increasingly difficult to help your older children advance in their fluency and comprehension.
Also, as a mom of 6, I sometimes want an online resource that will free me up to help other kids while everyone is still being productive and not running off to their rooms or making breakfast yet again.
Fortunately, there is a newly available option for homeschoolers that is suitable for the entire family. As I’m constantly juggling several kids and subjects at once, the chance to add a reading and language arts program to our homeschool was a welcome opportunity.
Fortunately, LightSail for Homeschoolers builds lifelong learners through an all-in-one language arts program. This online platform and eLibrary adapts to and challenges growing readers and writers while personalizing their educational journey.
What is LightSail for Homeschoolers?
The LightSail for Homeschoolers is a homeschool online reading program and language arts platform that gives homeschool families a comprehensive and engaging online reading and writing program for children pre-K through 12. Combining the science of reading and writing with the expertise of a team of homeschool educators creates a family-friendly learning experience that builds skills in reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency. The LightSail reading platform, which has improved the learning of over 5 million students, is now explicitly tailored to meet the educational goals of homeschoolers.
LightSail includes an extensive collection of tens of thousands of engaging books and multimedia content from respected publishers such as World Book and Lerner Publishing, as well as trusted homeschool and religious publishers. Parents can customize this collection to meet their children’s individual needs and family values using LightSail’s ChildSafe Content Control Service, as well as reading and grade-level controls.
Writing activities supplement reading assignments, and LightSail’s chat feature allows parents and children to interact and share through the platform. In addition, LightSail parents have real-time access to meaningful data about their children’s reading and writing trends, comprehension, and growth, allowing them to guide, shape, and improve the learning experience.
So how does LightSail work for reading? To begin, your child completes a Power Challenge, which is an adaptive assessment that assigns your child a Lexile score, which then determines where they will be placed for their “power texts.”
The reading portion of LightSail is based upon the Lexile levels of your child. Once their level has been given, they can access “power texts” within a range that will increase their reading skills and comprehension.
Additionally, within the dashboard, the parent can adjust many settings for their child’s access to books and content. For example, LightSail, by default, uses a “flip-flop” method that at first only gives access to books within their proper reading zone, but once they have completed that book, all books are available for the next choice. This process repeats, requiring the child to complete one power text before choosing a book from any level. However, you can also disable this feature and allow your child to choose any book they wish.
Within the reading settings, you can also adjust the access to audiobooks, interactive books, and video content.
I particularly like that when your child clicks on a book, LightSail loads available related content. It gives them links to videos, audiobooks, World Book articles, and more to dive deeper if the subject grabs their interest. With tens of thousands of books to choose from, there is the perfect title waiting to be found. Not to mention, no library late fees!
LightSail for Writing
LightSail isn’t just for comprehension; it also includes a multi-faceted approach to improving writing skills. As a result, there are many choices in using LightSail for writing:
- Inquiry Writing
- Authentic Writing
- Essay Writing
- Book Reports
- Informal Writing
- Write a Book
- Writing Skills Builder
LightSail also utilizes cloze reading that hides words for a child to insert as they read. For example, suppose a child chooses the correct word; that’s great. However, if they don’t choose the correct word, the word is moved to their “Word Work” area to practice its meaning and spelling later.
Using this method, the child is working on words they are having trouble with and not answering questions on vocabulary they already comprehend. Vocabulary assignments and spelling bee work are also available.
The tools available in LightSail to assess and increase fluency are amazing. For example, the program allows your child to read aloud and record themselves, which you can then listen to and assess.
With extensive assessment tools that allow you to precisely describe issues with your child’s fluency, as well as a rubric so you can accurately assess where your child is with reading fluency.
Controls on content within LIghtSail are beneficial and precise. They have taken the time and effort to identify topics and content families may have an issue with and give you the tools to filter what you want your child to access.
Here are some tips I’ve discovered from making changes in the parental settings:
The default seems to be that Classics require parental approval. Why? I don’t know, but when you are logged in, click the settings gear on the left and enter into the ChildSafe Controls. From there, you can choose each child and switch their settings to include all classics.
Additionally, LightSail also gives you an extensive list of questionable content, from violence to various religious topics. You can make choices based on each child as to what is allowed, blocked, or requires approval. You can even click the small icon next to the number and see the actual books included even within a topic. You can then pick and choose particular titles if you like.
With so much content available on LightSail, block with abandon. There will still be plenty for your child to read and learn.
One feature I particularly enjoy is the Collections. Think of them as unit studies, and it all makes sense. There are many premade collections for you to choose from and more to be added, but the best is that you can create your own right within LightSail.
From the library, you choose the collections tab and then click “create collection.” From here, you can add books, videos and add assessment questions if you desire. When searching for appropriate books for your child’s level, be sure to use the library shelves tab. Here I was able to narrow down titles within a reading level and topic the best.
Using the collections feature allows you to use LightSail for more than just reading; it can become a unit on insects, food, or any other topic and be added to your school year.
LightSail’s homeschool online reading program has such an exhaustive list of books and resources that it’s quite hard to quantify all you will gain access to with your child’s membership. Begin by first checking out their library page, which allows you to search and see what is available with both the Premium and Standard subscriptions. Here you can also see the videos, collections, audiobooks, and classics available.
But beyond books, LightSail creates a family-friendly learning experience advancing reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency and provides tens of thousands of ChildSafe books and multimedia resources from leading publishers such as World Book and Lerner Publishing.
Getting Started with LightSail
I will admit that getting started with LightSail and understanding all of the features and settings can be overwhelming at first. To make the most of it, I highly recommend watching the videos that walk you through each feature. It’s worth your time and will allow you to get the most out of your investment.
Next, have your child complete the “power challenge” so you can understand their current level and help choose appropriate titles and collections.
Finally, poke around inside LightSail and see what all it can do. There is so much that it really takes some exploring to figure out what features you and your child enjoy and find the most useful.
A Homeschool Online Reading Program Solution
LightSail truly is an all-in-one online reading program tailored to homeschoolers, and that will help your child increase their fluency and comprehension. The many features also allow you to use it as you would like in your homeschool. It can be simply an online library for your children to access, or you can tailor it to include unit studies, assessments, and writing practice.
It might take you a bit of time, but your homeschool will benefit from the power of LightSail.