How I Use It
Currently, I use LightSail as an independent reading time rotation where everyone one reads and use the app for 30 minutes a day. Each student checks out a book(s), reads, and answers three types of activities: cloze activity for vocabulary, common core multiple choice questions, and common core short response questions. On the heat map, usually at the bottom right of the app, I can get real time access to how well students are doing on their reading behaviors and activities. On the class list, I can see each students' lexile level and any comments they may have made throughout the reading.
LightSail is an excellent program and app because it meets several needs in my classroom: it monitors student reading behavior, it has them read in their independent lexile range, it offers high interest books within each range, and I can monitor what the students are doing during independent reading time. One of the best parts of the app is the fact that students are involved in tracking their own progress. Often, students will tell me their lexile level has changed and on occasion the color may have changed. My students' enthusiasm is infectious and the time they get to use the app is something they look forward to and anticipate. I have been using the app for over 4 months now. I believe the real understanding happens during the writing of the short responses. Even though I may not have read a particular book, the app has student responses and a rubric so I can easily grade the student responses. The responses give me a window into the deeper understanding a student should get when reading a high interest book. As an added benefit, LightSail created a sentence frame response sheet for narratives and informational texts to help students craft common core aligned responses to text. I have seen a remarkable growth in students using evidence from the text to support their thinking, one of the major shifts in common core language arts. One area I have not tried yet is using this app for small group work. I will be trying out small group with a set of 6 books toward the end of the school year, so I can be prepared next year. When I am working with my own small group, I don't have to worry about what the other 25 students are doing; I know they are engaged in reading because I can see their instant responses to all of the activities types in real time.