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How To Use Living Books – Spines Or Supplements?

April 14, 2015 2 min read

How to Use Living Books – Spines or Supplements?

We have been touring the country as part of convention season recently. The response to the Sassafras series has been overwhelming!

We had a few screaming fans and loads of moms who told us that their kids were finally interested in science!

But the people who didn't know much about us were unsure of how you could use a living book to teach science.

Today, I want to highlight how living books can be used as spines or as supplements to teach science.

How To Use Living Books

It is not a secret that I love living books. They definitely have a place in the educational landscape.

In some ways, living books are superior to textbooks and encyclopedias, because they are much more engaging. But living books do have a few drawbacks - mainly, they are limited to one topic that requires a whole book to explore.

So how can you use living books? There are two main ways you can use these resources in your school - let's take a closer look at both.

Living Books As Supplements

If you already have a science curriculum that you love, you can add in living books to reinforce or spice up what the students are learning.

Basically, you would:

  • Use your current curriculum as planned.
  • Set one day aside for reading living books.

In this case, the living books play a supportive role. The living book reinforces what the students are learning in their science curriculum, and the students benefit from the added exposure to the material.

Living Books As Spines

Another possibility for adding living books is to use these resources as spines. In this case, the living book would act as the outline for your studies.

Basically, you would:

  • Use a living book as the main source of information for your study.
  • Add in experiments and notebooking to draw out the scientific concepts.
  • Occasionally read from encyclopedias to round out the facts.

When you use a living book as the spine for your science studies, the students’ interest in the subject grows. Plus, since they are interested, their retention of the material generally increases.

Questions To Ask Yourself

When deciding how to use living books for your situation, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time do I have to devote to the study?
  • How much material do I need to cover in that time?

The answers to those questions will help you to determine whether you should seek to add living books as the spine or supplement of the science curriculum.

Read More About Living Books

I trust that gives you a broad picture of how to use living books to teach science or any other subject! If you want to know more about living books or see them in action, check out the following posts:

**Super big, special thanks to one of our readers, Dee, who graciously shared her picture of our books for this post!!

by Paige Hudson


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