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pitterpatter

Bought Lightning Lit 7. Disappointed. What other literature programs should I consider?

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I researched and researched literature programs for my rising 7th grader. I thought I found what I wanted in Lightning Lit 7. However, I finally got all of the pieces in and I'm completely flummoxed. There are some pretty lengthy books on the schedule but hardly any of the student assignments relate to the readings. Usually the paper topics do (which I like). In a couple of cases, that's about it (aside from the word searches and crosswords puzzles, which we weren't going to use). There aren't many literary elements studied either and the grammar assignments are meh. Am I simply missing the point of the program? Is the meat in the comp assignments?

Can anyone point me to other programs that teach literary elements and include some analysis-type lessons that actually relate to the book(s) read? We do not need grammar, as we are using CLE English. We've used CLE Reading in the past, but we are ready to move toward using programs that use traditional literature to better prepare for high school.

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Mosdos, maybe?
We liked lit guides from Moving Beyond The Page, but they're not for everyone.  My youngest does ELTL, but it does have the grammar woven into the writing exercises. 

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1 hour ago, pitterpatter said:

...  We've used CLE Reading in the past, but we are ready to move toward using programs that use traditional literature...


I know that CLE doesn't use traditional literature (so a strike against what you're looking for there)... BUT...  I was under the impression that CLE teaches literary elements and beginning analysis from 4th grade on... Could you continue with CLE for literary elements and analysis, and add 3-4 traditional "classics" next year and go deep with each through individual lit. guides?
 

1 hour ago, pitterpatter said:

... There aren't many literary elements studied ... Am I simply missing the point of the program?... 


Yes, I think you might be. 😉

LL7 is NOT about focusing on teaching literary elements. It is an *extremely* gentle intro to formal literature studies, and is about the overall "beginning to learn about literature". What each unit covers:

- a bit of background about the author/times to give context to the work of literature
- a little vocabulary and "what to look for as you read"
- some comprehension questions to make sure you're understanding the classic lit. being read
- a few discussion questions in the teacher guide
- a literature lesson -- always relates very directly to the book read; however the lesson is NOT always about teaching a literary element -- it is about teaching a topic of literature -- which may be a genre of literature, a common theme in literature, use of words and language in literature, a literary element, etc.
- a student work pages which work with the literature lesson topic (so not about a literary element unless that's what that unit's lesson covers), and to help guide the student toward more formal literary analysis (that happens especially in the second half of LL8)
- the "mini writing lesson" is about elements of writing an essay about literature, that slowly build up so that by the end of LL8, you have most of the "pieces" needed for writing a literary analysis essay (if you've managed to remember all of the pieces over 2 years/2 programs, LOL)
 

1 hour ago, pitterpatter said:

... ... Can anyone point me to other programs that teach literary elements and include some analysis-type lessons that actually relate to the book(s) read? ...


Possibilities:
Memoria Press, 7th grade
Mosdos Jade, 7th grade -- uses own lit., not "traditional classics"
? Essentials in Literature, 7th grade
"Figuratively Speaking paired with short stories" -- for a DIY approach; this past thread has lit. ideas to use alongside teaching literary elements in Figuratively Speaking

If a VERY strong reader/writer/thinker:
? Excellence in Literature: Intro to Literature (gr. 8-10 program)
Windows to the World (gr. 9-12 program)

Or, go with a local co-op class (that's what I teach!  😁 ), or an online class such as Center for Lit., Brave Writer, etc.

Or, go "DIY" with individual literature guides and choice of "traditional" works of literature of high interest:
Glencoe Lit. Library (free guides -- lots of graphic organizers, but some good background info on author/times, and some useful discussion questions)
- Garlic Press Discovering Literature series, especially the "Challenger" level guides
- Blackbird and Company -- no personal experience with them

BEST of luck in finding what works best for your family! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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One other option is to go with LL7 (which is geared to be done mostly solo by the student), and then "beef it up" with some individual guides for added discussion/analysis to do together. For example: Adventures of Tom SawyerGlencoe Lit. Library, and/or, Portals to Literature.

Edited by Lori D.
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We use CLE Reading (and will until 9th grade). If we weren't, then I'd either be using Mosdos (my oldest used it 2 years before CLE) or Essentials in Literature (from the Essentials in Writing people). 

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I'm considering this. I wish there were options for some of the other books. For example, students spend 7+ weeks straight reading All Creatures Great and Small and then the only thing they do with all that reading is a paper. 🤨

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45 minutes ago, pitterpatter said:

...For example, students spend 7+ weeks straight reading All Creatures Great and Small and then the only thing they do with all that reading is a paper. 🤨


My guess is that because LL7 is meant to be a beginning formal literature program, a lot of time is allowed for just learning to read works that are a good-sized jump up for most students in length, and complexity of sentence structure, vocabulary, and use of accents. Also, the *average* 7th grader hasn't written much (if at all, if my co-op classes are any gauge, LOL) about literature before, so that 7 weeks allows a lot of time for figuring out how to *write* about literature.

I have a stealth dyslexic DS#2, and we motored through LL7 in about 28 weeks, and that was just doing it 4 days/week for about 40-50 min./day, and that time included doing the readings aloud together buddy style ("you read a page, I read a page") -- and we did a lot of discussing/analyzing as we read the works together. We also did -12 lessons per week out of Figuratively Speaking while doing LL7, and would practice looking for those literary elements in the lit. we were reading for LL7. Having LL7 be a lighter program allowed for that -- as well as for also doing full programs for writing, grammar, and spelling, since DS#2 was weak in the LA areas.

All that said -- I have heard on these boards multiple times that people who were using CLE find LL7/LL8 to be too "lite", so you may prefer to go with a different program, or with a class that is more rigorous.

BEST of luck, whatever you decide! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Lori 's list is really great.  I think figuratively speaking might be the most streamlined approach.  I'll add Kolbe to the list of possibilities.  They use excellent, real books.  You probably want to skip the saint books if you aren't Catholic, but the others should be fine for most people.  They give you an excess so you can tailor it and not be "short" by skipping some.

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17 hours ago, pitterpatter said:

...I'm considering this. I wish there were options for some of the other books...


You're welcome 😉😁

All Creatures Great and Small -- Book Rags; Teachers Pay Teachers; e-notes; Macmillian teacher guide; Sharp School free online teacher lesson plan
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -- Book RagsSparknotes; Prestwick House; Teachers Pay Teachers; Novel Guide
Story of My Life -- Book Ragse notes; Gale Engage Learning; Prestwick House: response journal
"Rikki Tikki Tavi" -- Book RagsTeachers Pay TeachersC-Palms: literary analysis & narrative writing lesson plan; Learn Zillion: close reading lessons
"Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" -- Book Ragse notes; Prestwick House

And a possible substitute study of poetry that can be gently spread over 3 years (7th-9th grades): CAP's Art of Poetry program. Or possibly the Michael Clay Thompson poetics series on poetry appreciation/understanding.

Edited by Lori D.
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I personally didn't like LL way back yrs ago when I purchased 1 level.  But, I wanted to share that other than discussing works as we read them (which I love doing with my kids), the "only" thing they do is write a paper when we finish.  And that doesn't necessarily start until high school.  It depends on the student.  My dd who is going into 8th grade did not write any literary essays this past yr.  She wrote research papers (lots of them), but no literary papers.  Her older sister, otoh, was writing them in 6th. 

All is good.  Neither way is right or wrong. It is completely student dependent.  By the time they graduate from 12th, they are all writing essays with ease.  

FWIW, if I need additional info for discussing books, I read online sources, use annotated books, etc.  

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Yes, thank you! I've used many of your posts in other threads to research literature programs/studies, etc. You always manage to dig up options that seemly reside under rocks. Lol.

I do think we've been spoiled by CLE. I keep hoping someone will come up with a similar program using classic books.

Edited by pitterpatter
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The post above was suppose to be attached to this. 🙄

13 hours ago, Lori D. said:


You're welcome 😉😁

All Creatures Great and Small -- Book Rags; Teachers Pay Teachers; e-notes; Macmillian teacher guide; Sharp School free online teacher lesson plan
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -- Book RagsSparknotes; Prestwick House; Teachers Pay Teachers; Novel Guide
Story of My Life -- Book Ragse notes; Gale Engage Learning; Prestwick House: response journal
"Rikki Tikki Tavi" -- Book RagsTeachers Pay TeachersC-Palms: literary analysis & narrative writing lesson plan; Learn Zillion: close reading lessons
"Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" -- Book Ragse notes; Prestwick House

And a possible substitute study of poetry that can be gentle spread over 3 years (7th-9th grades): CAP's Art of Poetry program. Or possibly the Michael Clay Thompson poetics series on poetry appreciation/understanding.

 

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You could also look at K12 Literature (www.k12.com) which is available as a stand alone course for individual purchase (taught by you) or as a teacher led option. It does have grammar, vocabulary and composition along with the literature portion so it may be more than you want. The literature study includes short stories, nonfiction, and poetry as well as novels.

I had the exact same reaction as the original poster when I examined LL7. Luckily, someone was giving the books away in the "free/giveaway" area at my homeschool co-op so I didn't have to purchase them to find out they were too "light" for my DD. I examined the 8th grade version at my recent homeschool convention and was still underwhelmed. I will be using LL for my 3rd grader this upcoming year, however. For 3rd grade I think it's fine, lol.

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So, after perusing many, many programs and rejecting them, lol, this is what I have decided to do next year for literature with my rising 6th grade DD (who is more like grades 7-8 for Language Arts):

1) A selection of short stories using Teacherspayteachers guides—mostly from Lovinlit who has a great series of short story guides in her "short story clubs" for 6th, 7th and 8th grades (also includes some poetry mostly narrative) I am using a mixture of stories from her grades 7 and 8 "clubs";

2) I will supplement discussion of short stories (or novels) if necessary using free resources from shmoop.com, sparknotes.com or enotes.com;

3 Figuratively Speaking tying literary elements into whatever short story, poem or novel we may be looking at

3) Poetry study using resources from Teacherspayteachers (Lovin Lit and others), Grammar of Poetry (IEW) and Progeny Press's poetry guide

4) Novel studies using a list of classics and various other genres that I have compiled from extensive research : ). I will use selected lit guides from Progeny Press, MBTP, Memoria Press, Novel Units and Teacherspayteachers. The websites listed above also are helpful for literary analysis;

5) I would love to introduce some Shakespeare using E. Nesbit's and/or the Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare books. We'll see if there's time.....

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I spent yet another morning going through the lit programs/study guides online yet again and didn't find anything different than what I had before. That brought me back to LL7 and why I chose it in the first place. I forced myself to spend the entire afternoon and more going through every single story, poem, and lesson page by page. What I found is that LL7 does cover more literary elements and devices than I first thought. It continually circles around to earlier stories and uses them as points of comparison. I like the writing exercises and think they are good and doable for my daughter. This was one of the leading factors in why I purchased the curriculum in the first place. My daughter needs to beef up her writing skills outside of writing as a subject. I created an entirely new LL7 schedule that better utilizes our time. I cut out the G (we use CLE English, so these are super weak and pointless for us), C (these felt disjointed and not very well done; we've covered it all in CLE anyway...I will pick up something else for writing research papers at some point), most of the E sections, and all word searches (we will use the crossword puzzles, though). I found several typos, design errors, and many instances of inadequacy in the teacher's guide along the way, but I suppose we'll survive. Hopefully, by condensing the schedule, we'll have extra time for an in-depth novel study and a better poetry study. I also purchased Figuratively Speaking to see what that's all about. So, that's my plan. 🤸‍♀️

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Hope that works well and that you have an enjoyable and engaging Lit. year!

One last thought -- you can also enjoy discussing "big ideas" and looking for literary elements in the extra time you'll have from re-scheduling LL7 with some high quality/"classic" YA (Young Adult) works. A few ideas that are great for the grade 7-9 range to get you started (some have links to lit. guides):

Tuck Everlasting (Babbit)  -- Glencoe Lit. Library guide
Below the Root (Snyder)
A Long Walk to Water (Park)

I Am Malala (Yousafzi)
Brown Girl Dreaming (Woodson)
Julie of the Wolves -- Glencoe Lit. Library guide
Walk Two Moons -- Glencoe Lit. Library guide
Maniac Magee (Spinnelli) -- Progeny Press guide
Echo (Ryan)
Wonder (Palacio)
A Wrinkle in Time (L'Engle) 
-- Blackbird & Co. guideGlencoe Lit. Library guideProgeny Press guide
Enchantress from the Stars (Engdahl)
The Giver -- Garlic Press Discovering Lit. guidePortals to Lit. guideProgeny Press guide
The Cay (Taylor) -- Progeny Press guide
Island of the Blue Dolphins (O'Dell) -- Glencoe Lit. Library guideGarlic Press Discovering Lit. guideProgeny Press guide
Sounder (Armstrong) -- Glencoe Lit. Library guide
Where the Red Fern Grows -- Garlic Press Discovering Lit. guideProgeny Press guide
Bridge to Terebithia -- Glencoe Lit. Library guideProgeny Press guide
The Midwife's Apprentice (Cushman)
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Avi) -- Glencoe Lit. Library guide
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Kelly)
The Blue Sword (McKinley)
The Secret of Platform 13 (Ibbotson)

The House with a Clock in its Walls (Bellairs)
The Westing Game -- Blackbird & Co. guide
The Bronze Bow (Geoge) -- Progeny Press guide
Eagle of the Ninth (Sutcliff) -- Progeny Press guide
The Master Puppeteer (Paterson) -- Progeny Press guide
The Great and Terrible Quest (Lovell)
The King's Fifth (O'Dell)
Hittite Warrior (Williamson)
Bullrun (Fleischman)
The War That Saved My Life (Bradley)
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry (Taylor) -- Garlic Press Discovering Lit. guide
I Am David -- Blackbird & Co. guide

 

Edited by Lori D.
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Glad you have a plan and hope it works well.  Just wanted to echo your thoughts though -- we tried Lightning Lit 7 two years ago after having done a couple of years of CLE Reading and it was a major disappointment.  At least reading the literature was worthwhile 🙂 .  This past year we did Mosdos Gold level and it was excellent!  The literature selections were high quality and worthwhile, there were thoughtful questions after each selection, writing assignments available, etc.  I will use it again for my youngest at the appropriate time.  This next year my rising eighth grader will do Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide (which uses whole books.) I am hoping this will be what I had hoped Lightning Lit was, but time will tell.

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