We have a lot of books. We could literally stock a small library with our books. Admittedly, my husband has rolled his eyes at me a few (hundred) times when I’ve come home with a stack of books for our home library. I jokingly tell him that all of our books fit into a box, and that box is our house. So, what do you do when you run out of room for books in your box? Get a bigger box, right? Unless that box is your house LOL. And my kids are always asking for books and frequently maxing out their monthly digital library loan limits. I was delighted, then, when I received an opportunity to review LightSail for Homeschoolers from LightSail.
LightSail for Homeschoolers
LightSail is launching a new LightSail for Homeschoolers platform with tens of thousands of books and multimedia resources from leading publishers such as World Book and Lerner Publishing, as well as trusted homeschool and faith-based publishers.
It’s more than just an online reading library, though. It’s a full fledged e-reading literacy platform designed to support independent reading. It has been used in the public and private school sectors by over 5 Million students, and this new platform is specifically tailored to homeschoolers.
LightSail Pillars of Literacy
LightSail for Homeschoolers is an adaptive online language arts program for grades pre-K through 12. It combines a foundation in the science of reading and writing with the experience of a team of home educators creates a family-friendly learning experience advancing skills in reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency.
As I mentioned, the LightSail Online Library is vast. There are books about nearly everything you can imagine. 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. This means you can block books that you don’t want your child to read. Yes, I’ve blocked some.
Every 15 days, LightSail automatically updates your child’s Lexile score, allowing every feature to be tailored precisely to their reading level. There are built-in comprehension assessments that help you determine whether your child is absorbing what they’re reading. With over 150 new Library Collections, curated by homeschoolers, there’s sure to be something to snag your child’s interest!
My oldest daughter currently wants to be a canine officer, so she was immediately drawn to the Service and Working Animals collection.
She started reading the Hero Law Enforcement Dogs book right away!
LightSail has writing activities that complement reading assignments. There is also a chat feature allows parents and children to interact within the platform. We haven’t needed to use that feature yet, because I am home with the kids, but it’s great to know that it is available if I need to have my Mother in Law school them for a day. In addition to writing activities, LightSail provides real-time access to data about your children’s reading and writing trends, comprehension, and growth that allows them to guide, create, and enhance the learning experience.
LightSail uses an individualized spiral approach to teaching vocabulary. This includes Spelling Bees that build phonemic awareness and vocabulary skills. The Spelling Bees are at your child’s Lexile level and constantly adjusts as they progress. Parents can assign their own Spelling Bees or use ready-made lists.
I am really excited about are the LightSail fluency tools. These tools allow your child to record themselves reading a portion of a book aloud and send it to you for assessment. Students can play their own recording back and re-record it until they are happy with it. It then allows you to listen to the recording with text on screen, so you can assess what they’ve omitted, inserted, mispronounced, substituted, repeated, or self corrected. This is huge for us, since our 12yo has dyslexia and fluency is a struggle. It’s difficult to assess at times, though, because I either have to be reading over her shoulder (which she hates) or I have to have a second copy of the text (which can run expensive). This will enable us to work on fluency in a non-intimidating way.
LightSail also has tools for struggling learners. The line isolator tool is a game changer and I literally had tears when I found it. In addition to dyslexia, my daughter has a history of saccadic eye movement which makes reading even more difficult. She did vision therapy for years and does eye exercises to control the rapid shifts of gaze, but when she’s tired, isolating lines is very helpful for her. She can change the number of lines that are isolated and she can change the color of the isolated lines and background. She can also have the lines read to hear. Game. Changer.
Additional LightSail Features
LightSail also has the expansive World Book Encyclopedia on site. This is great for researching topics safely.
There is a collection of videos that you can add to your lesson plans, or just let your kids watch at their leisure. Some of our favorite YouTube learning channels are included!
The images in the 360 photo gallery are breathtaking. My favorite are the Frescoes in Yusuf Koc Church, in Göreme, central Turkey!
What We Think of LightSail for Homeschoolers
Overall, I am really excited to use LightSale for Homeschoolers with my kidlets in the coming year. Since this program is designed for K – 12th grade, I can use it with all three kids and it will adapt to their abilities. I don’t have to figure out which level to put them in. Yay!
I appreciate that there is a significant audiobook collection, as well as Spanish selections.
I love that it each kiddo can personalize their dashboard. I can, too! I chose the giraffe theme because I think it’s black tongue is pretty awesome. Kids can also earn badges for work done. I have two kiddos that are motivated by incentives like this, so that’s great.
Teaching reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency to three kiddos at three different levels can be both overwhelming and intimidating. It doesn’t have to be. The online reading program from LightSail takes the guess work out of language arts.
Be sure to check out my article on How to Find the Perfect Books for Your Child while you’re here!