So your child has finished the learn to read program, but you know that they still need to improve reading comprehension. Or maybe you have a high school kid who is below their ideal lexile level for their grade and you want an easy way to boost their skills without embarrassing them. LightSail has developed a new program for home use that any parent can use to boost their child’s literacy skills.
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.
I was compensated for my time spent writing this review, all opinions are my own and I am not required to write a positive review.
Looking at some popular articles from the World Book section of the LightSail for Homschoolers literacy program.
LightSail for Homeschoolers is an online program developed to improve reading comprehension and literacy skills. I think it is an excellent tool, not only for homeschoolers, but also for any parents looking to help improve their child’s reading abilities in the evenings, weekends, or during the summer.
Improve reading comprehension with an extensive library
LightSail includes a large library of books for online reading. This is the heart of the program, afterall, you need to practice reading to improve reading comprehension. The library is very easy to use, with tabs for different subjects, and if fully searchable. Books that will help improve your child’s reading comprehension are marked with a Power Text banner. You can even click on the Power Text tab, when the program requires your child to read a power text before making another selection.
The library includes:
- World Book Encyclopedia
- Behind the Headlines (News)
- Audio books & options (kids can follow along with text, or choose audio only)
- TED videos
The parent has a separate login and dashboard and has full control over what content is visible to kids, and can also mark categories or individual books as needing parental approval before they can read. The parent dashboard has a full suite of customization controls so you can create the program your child needs. You can turn videos and audio on or off, limit the number of videos per day, or even the time of day videos are allowed, and much more.
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.
The program seems to run fine from a tablet, there is no app, but we just used it inside of an internet browser with no problems. The table pictured is a Fire 8.
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
Can LightSail be used with advanced high school students?
I tested my advanced reader, who just completed his sophomore year of high school. He tested out of all power texts, with a lexile score of 1759, the program does not have texts to help him improve from there. The highest lexile score is 2000, and I find very few books with a rating that high. But the truth is, with a score like that, he doesn’t need to work on improving reading comprehension.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the program could still be useful for such a student. The library full of classics ensures he will have plenty to read, and the search abilities make it easy to match his literature to other subjects. For example, you can select ‘high’ as the grade level on the left, and then you can select a century or time period, making it very easy to add some great literary works to read alongside your history program.
What is in LightSail that helps more than just handing your kid a book?
As your child reads a book, the program will ask a few comprehension questions about the passage. Students will answer the questions and then continue reading. As your child completes books and successfully answers the questions that go along with them, their reading comprehension will increase and the program will track their new skills.
An easy program to improve reading skills
Overall, I would say the biggest strength of this program is that it is very easy for both parents and kids to use. I also love that it includes a lot of classics. The library is huge and your child can find books on topics they find interesting. I am excited to continue using this with my kids.
The program does have some bugs. This is because it is a new program and I am sure they will get ironed out quickly, as the ones I had to report were fixed. Customer service was fast to respond and get to the bottom of the problem. (For example, I had trouble with my parent account getting stuck during the sign-in. This was caused by an internet connection of my end, and an error on their end, that didn’t allow things to reconnect properly. They are fixing the issue and in the meantime I was able to complete sign up with a different email address.)
The advantage of trying out the program while it is brand new is that you can get a special launch discount. Special launch price $99/year for Premium; $65/year for Standard through 8/31/21.