Lightning Literature & Composition British Medieval Literature Student Guide

Lightning Literature & Composition British Medieval Literature Student Guide

# 006334

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Item #: 006334
ISBN: 9781578962525
Grades: 11-12

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Publisher Description:

Students read in the following order:

  • Beowulf(epic poem; anonymous author)
  • Anglo-Saxon riddles (text is in this Guide)
  • Piers the Ploughman(epic poem; possibly by William Landland)
  • York Mystery Play Cycle 42, The Ascension (play; anonymous author; text is in this Guide)
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight(epic poem; anonymous author)
  • Selection fromThe Gest of Robyn Hode(epic poem; anonymous author; (text is in this Guide)
  • "St. Thomas Becket" fromThe Golden Legend(biography; anonymous author; (text is in this Guide)
  • Selections fromThe Canterbury Tales(tales by Geoffrey Chaucer)

Lessons include story telling, imagery, symbolism, characterization, persuasive writing, drama, and description. For example,Beowulf is used to teach foreshadowing,Piers the Ploughmanteaches allegory, andSir Gawain and the Green Knightteaches tone. This course makes an excellent companion for studying Medieval History.

The Student's Guide includes comprehension questions, writing exercises, discussion questions, an additional reading list, semester and full-year schedules, and a bibliography. Answers to the comprehension questions are in the Teacher's Guide.

Recommendations: Generally speaking, this course is more difficult than all the other Lightning Literature courses except the Shakespeare courses. Much depends on student interest in the material, however. This course isespecially recommendedfor students who have completed at least two previous high-school level Lightning Literature courses, who are studying medieval history, and who are interested in medieval literature. These should not be viewed as restrictions; this course can profitably be used by high-school students of any grade regardless of which previous Lightning Literature courses they have completed.


Language arts programs listed in this section cover most areas of language arts (reading/literature, writing, grammar, spelling and handwriting) in one curriculum, although some skill areas may be covered with less intensity than a focused, stand-alone course.

Category Description for Lightning Literature & Composition:

"Reading should be fun, and writing should be satisfying." The author of this series believes this, and she has produced a course that tries to keep that goal ever present. She wants the students to enjoy themselves! Accordingly, reading assignments are not as strenuous as in some courses - two novels, two non-fiction books, two short stories and several poems for the 7th grade course, for instance. However, the lessons are well-constructed and coverage of vocabulary, comprehension, literary elements, and writing instruction is thorough.

The three components of this program are designed to be complementary for use together. The Student Book is the student's textual companion as they study the literature selections. There are eight chapters in Grade 7 and twelve in Grade 8, one for each of the major pieces of literature that are studied throughout the year, but the chapters do not necessarily correspond to a specific time period. For instance, in the 7th grade course, Chapter 5 is covered in two weeks, Chapter 6 in four weeks, Chapter 7 in two weeks, and Chapter 8 in nine weeks. There is a consistent pattern in the chapter contents, however: Introduction (to the literary work), While You Read (what to look for), Vocabulary List, Comprehension Questions, Literary Lesson, Mini-Lesson (writing lesson), and Writing Exercises.

The consumable Student Workbook is the place for the student to "do" their work. It provides worktext space for all the essential exercises as well as some optional fun/reinforcement exercises. There are 8-12 exercises per chapter, in seven different coded types - L for literary lessons, M relating to mini-lessons, C practicing composition skills, T for thinking skill pages, G exercises that review grammar and mechanics, P for puzzles, and E for extra-challenge (the last two being the optional ones). There's a nice variety in these exercises and a well-thought-out relationship between the literary and composition activities. Frankly, I like the step-by-step skill building that is integral to the worktext.

The Teacher Guide is the "glue" that holds the whole program together providing a philosophical and methodical overview of the program and a weekly planning schedule (lesson plans) as well as chapter-by-chapter answers and teaching helps.

To some, the reading selection choices might seem a little light, and perhaps atypical, but there is good variety in terms of genre, and the lessons are effective vehicles for grade-level skills. To give you an idea, in Chapter 6 of the 7th grade course, Helen Keller's autobiography, The Story of My Life, is covered. Lessons, in addition to the usual background, vocabulary, and comprehension, include these writing skills: lists about yourself, developing an idea, putting ideas into a paragraph, identifying resources, determining fact or opinion, identifying a biased viewpoint, and identifying sentences plus a crossword puzzle, a word search and an extra challenge exercise on autobiography and culture.

If your goal is to prepare your student for high school literature and composition skills, then Lightning Lit & Comp is a good, solid choice. Although there is a conservative moral "feel" to the series and an occasional mention of God (by authors Stephen Crane and Mark Twain, for instance), there is no obvious Christian content. ~ Janice

Written directly to the student, well-organized, user-friendly (no teacher prep), and both traditional and diverse in the reading selections, these courses offer quality literary analysis coupled with step-by-step writing instruction. Assignments are thought-provoking and challenging.

Lessons follow a pattern: Introduction, (information about the reading) Selection, While You Read, Comprehension Questions, Literary Lessons, and Writing Exercises. Suggested activities enhance the studies: Vocabulary Notebook, Reading Journal, Biographies, Family Reading or Writing Nights, Oral Summaries, Writing Group, and (perhaps) Movies.

The Student Book includes instructional text, shorter works (i.e. poetry, excerpts), author background, discussion questions (comprehension, thought, literary), and writing exercises. The Teacher Guide provides answers, schedules, teaching/grading tips, rubrics, project suggestions/checklists, and grade-tracking records.

The twelve semester-long courses are listed in order of difficulty. Most students should start with one of the American Lit courses. There are required literature resources to use with each guide. While you may be able to locate some or all of the books at a library, we also offer packages for each guide that include the necessary books.

Primary Subject
Language Arts
Grade Start
Grade End
Michael G. Gaunt
Brand Name
Hewitt Research Foundation
1.3 (lbs.)
10.75" x 8.38" x 0.5"
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Our 10 year old son has been reading the Trailblazer series aloud to me nightly this past year We've completed about 15 titles in the series so far! We have studied Martin Luther quite a bit during our fall unit on the reformation and our son wasn't sure he wanted to read another book on Luther However after reading the Spy for the Night Riders he was amazed at how many new things he learned through this adventure story! We enjoy how the Dave & Neta Jackson write historical fiction in such an engaging way that the children do not realize how much they are learning about the heroes of the Christian faith while going on these exciting journeys with them The Trailblazer books include stories of missionaries pastors reformers and other godly men and women you would want your children to emulate! We are so grateful that we came across this series at a used book sale and are anxious to add more titles to our collection! If you are looking for something worthwhile for your son/daughter to read this series is a great place to start!
March 4, 2014

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