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9th Grade -- Essentials in Lit vs. Lightning Lit

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Getting ready to jump into high school with our son, and looking for your personal experiences with either of these literature programs.  He is a slower, more hesitant reader, but has good comprehension.  Alas, he is not into "lengthy" book discussions -- he likes short, to the point, and get-r-done.  And he is good at staying independent with his work.  I am planning for this to be a foundational intro. to lit. course.  I know that Lightning Lit. 8 is not high school level, but I have read in several of Lori D.'s posts about it being a good intro. to lit. course for 9th grade.  Thanks in advance for anyone willing to share their experiences.

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I think what you are saying is that you want to use LL8 for your 9th grader (?)


LL8 is a good introduction to literature. I used it with my three children and loved it.


My umbrella school requires the use of high school level (or college level) materials to teach high school. I don't know what your requirements are. You will need to check.


My oldest used Essentials in Literature (British) in a co-op setting and enjoyed it. We have never used the introductory level. Hopefully some one will respond to you about it.



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We used LL7 for 7th grade LL8 for 8th grade.



  • Gentle introduction to literature and literary analysis
  • Pick up and go (minimal teacher preparation)
  • Well organized (ie. they give you a reasonable weekly schedule to use)
  • Written to the student so it can be done independently
  • Nice variety of books and genres (biography, poetry, novel, short story, etc)
  • Uses whole books readily available at the library
  • Not too much work – we are able to use a separate grammar and writing program and read other literature without stress
  • Secular



  • None


Note:  Figuratively Speaking is a nice supplement.

Edited by Sue in St Pete

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Well, Hewitt says you could use LL8 for 9th grade...quote from the site:


Recommendations:  Although this is listed as an eighth grade text, students cannot be easily boxed into grades. A seventh grader who is a strong reader and likes writing would be able to do well with this course. Another option for the parent of a sixth grader who is eager to begin Lightning Lit is to complete the seventh grade course and this course over two years (there is not a schedule in the Teacher's Guide for this option).

This course can also work for the ninth grader who needs to work at the foundations of composition.



I would use it with the right 9th grader with no hesitations. :)  Some of the longer works used ( To Kill a Mockingbird, A Christmas Carol) do show up on many high school reading lists.  I would add a grammar program and/or a spelling/vocab program to it to make the overall workload more high school credit worthy.

Edited by Zoo Keeper

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One of the components we're using for Literature this year is EiL9; and, Dd says she is enjoying the course and that it is definitely helping her to analyse and write about literature.  She used EiL 8 last year.

I wanted an instructor based course, that taught to my student and used shorter works to teach with - this fits the bill perfectly.

She is taking the skills being taught in EiL and is effectively using them inside her other, longer,  literature studies.  


Hope you find what will work best for your Ds.

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Thank you.  Still working through what to do, but these responses helped!  (And, yes, we have Analytical Grammar and Vocab from Classical Roots in the wings and ready to go.)


Edited by lineinthesand9

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