Homeschool Online Reading Library for 3rd and 5th grade--a review

Do You Have a Homeschool Online Reading Library?

Cindy Wetzel

Cindy Wetzel

I was compensated for the time I spent reviewing LightSail for Homeschoolers.

A homeschool online reading library can save the day!

If not yet, it is coming soon! A homeschool lesson sparks your child’s curiosity. Perhaps he wants to know all about butterflies, trains, or blood cells.

A  library search pulls up plenty of books on the topic, but you don’t have time to get to the library today. 

By tomorrow your child may have moved on to a new interest and this opportunity to learn more is lost.

This is the moment a homeschool online reading library can save the day!

An online reading library where you can search by topic and have online access to 

  • books at your child’s reading level
  • articles from Worldbook
  • videos

Using A Homeschool Online Reading Library

This year we are using LightSail for Homeschoolers as part of our daily language arts curriculum.

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.

Getting Started with LightSail for Homeschoolers

Be sure to watch the intro videos! We’ve referred to these several times as using an online reading library is a new process for us. You’ll find an easy access link to the intro videos at the top right of both parent and child dashboards.

Watch the intro videos! 

 

Registration was simple. My girls love having their own user id and password.

Power Challenge and Lexile 

Our first LightSail task was the Power Challenge. 

This consisted of reading some passages and answering multiple choice questions. The resulting lexile level enables LightSail to offer books at your child’s reading level. It is possible to skip this challenge, but I was curious how my girls would do.

3rd grade reading library

My fifth grader (TJ) flew through her questions! I’m pretty sure she didn’t read all the passages in her power challenge  and just guessed at the answers. LightSail placed her at 826L. 

RJ (my third grader) took a long time to answer her power challenge questions. She carefully read and sometimes listened (LightSail will read to your child) to each passage. Then she deliberated over the choices for each question. 

MOM-TIP    To help her not be frustrated, I limited her to 15 minutes at a time. Her power challenge took several days to complete, and she scored 850L (higher than her older sister).

Setting a Weekly Reading Goal

Our goal for this year is 30 minutes of independent reading a day (Monday-Friday). That’s 150 minutes a week. While my girls enjoy reading, they would freak out  if I told them they needed to read two and a half hours this week! Shh..let’s keep this between us…

We will reach our goal using Lightsail’s online reading library, library books, and our home library. 

When reading in LightSail, the minutes read are automatically tracked and recorded. This is super helpful for me because record keeping is not my strength. 

MOM-WIN   At the end of the year, I’ll have a record of all the online books read (including minutes and pages).

Daily Reading Experience

Everyday, the girls login and go to their very own homeschool online reading library. Then choose to continue a book or choose a new one at just the right level.

They can also search by topic. Super helpful for my curious kids. I now send them to look up things on LightSail (just another homeschool benefit).

MOM-TIP   Using ChildSafe Content Controls, I am able to block or require approval for books based on content. For example, I’ve blocked content that includes scary imagery from my third grader. She has too many scary dreams!

fifth grader using an online reading program

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As my fifth grader reads, she highlights text and adds it to her reading journal. She later uses these quotes in her writing assignments. Our new chickens have just started laying eggs, so she’s writing about all things chicken!  

Reading Assessment

Lightsail has built in assessments. These may be cloze assessments (choosing the missing vocabulary word), multiple choice or short answer questions. 

Using Lightsail’s assignment builder, I’m also able to assign writing and fluency assessments. 

RJ (third grade) loved recording her voice and listening to herself reading. Then I assessed her fluency by using Lightsail’s tools to mark words that were mispronounced, skipped, or changed. Here is her first fluency assessment.

We are still discovering all of Lightsail’s features

Here are some features we haven’t tried yet, but are excited about:

  • Book Club
  • Chat Feature
  • Spelling Bee

Choosing a Homeschool Online Reading Library

 

What is LightSail for Homeschoolers?

The LightSail for Homeschoolers language arts platform provides parents with a comprehensive and engaging online reading and writing program for children in grades pre-K through 12. A foundation in the science of reading and writing combined with the experience of a team of home educators creates a family-friendly learning experience advancing skills in reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency. The LightSail literacy platform that has enhanced learning for over 5 million school students is now tailored especially to the educational goals of homeschoolers.

 

LightSail contains 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 faith-based publishers. Parents customize this collection to the individual needs of their children and their family values through LightSail’s ChildSafe Content Control Service and reading- and grade-level appropriateness controls.

 

Writing activities complement reading assignments, and LightSail’s chat feature allows parents and children to interact and engage through the platform. Furthermore, LightSail parents have real-time access to meaningful data about their children’s reading and writing trends, comprehension, and growth that allows them to guide, create, and enhance the learning experience. 

See Lightsail’s Feature Map for more. There are too many to explore in detail here.

LightSail's 4 Pillars of Literacy

Reading

Immerse your child in an online reading library.

Explore Reading

Vocabulary

See how LightSail can help with vocabulary.

Explore Vocabulary

Writing

Improve your writing skills with LightSail.

Explore Writing

Fluency

Read with confidence and accuracy.

Explore Fluency

Why Choose LightSail for Homeschoolers?

LightSail for Homeschoolers is a good choice for many homeschool families. 

But is it the right homeschool curriculum choice for your family?

Here are some things to consider… and thoughts from my personal experience with LightSail.

How do your children like to read?

My children are comfortable reading printed and online books. They equally love instant access to online books and exploring our library. For us this means using both!

We tested LightSail on our desktop computer, ipad, and ipod. The larger screens were easier for us to work with. My girls also enjoyed changing the size and colors of the font to their preferences.

MOM-TIP:  Enlarging the font can help your child focus on a smaller area of text.  Beginning readers may panic at the sight of a page full of text.

Do you want a curriculum that includes reading assessments?

I have a pretty good idea where my girls are at in their reading skills, so I didn't think we would use or need LightSail's built-in reading assessments.

To my surprise--the girls love seeing their Lexile improve and checking all their assessments.

Will LightSail fit with your reading goals?

My third and fifth graders are already reading.  They are reading for information and clearly, LightSail has lots of that. 

We searched the topic "Veterinarian" and were give enough books, articles, and videos to give us a thorough understanding.

Homeschooling different ages? Check out LightSail's features for Early Learners or Homeschooling Highschool.

Are you good at keeping records?

I have good intentions, but struggle to keep records for the whole year.

MOM-WIN:  LightSail records the books, minutes and pages read. The gradebook keeps track of assessments. At the end of the year it'll be there ready and waiting!

Does LightSail for Homeschoolers fit your budget?

MOM-WIN:   No late library book fees!

Special launch price ($99/year for Premium; $65/year for Standard) through 8/31/21.

Homeschool Online Reading Library: Final Thoughts

 

I’m a book lover! I love the feel and smell of books, so an online library can’t replace that—but I do think it is worth the investment.

During the last year, we were home a lot (read: all the time). Our library was closed quite a bit too. 

Dashboard of LightSail for Homeschoolers

While I’m hoping to not have a 2020/2021 repeat, I know we will be better prepared.

Accessing books online is what kept our homeschool going strong!

If you haven’t checked out LightSail for Homeschoolers yet, take a few minutes today to see if it’s a good fit for your family. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Are you using a homeschool online reading library? 

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