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What Are Living Books?

February 02, 2016 3 min read

We talk about living books a fair amount here at Sassafras Science. Blaine has even shared about how living books once saved the world!

But we realized that we have yet to share the answer to the burning question - "What are living books?"  Something we plan to remedy with this post!

We are bringing Paige back to define what a living book is for your all today since she is our resident expert on the subject. Incidentally, she gives a fantastic talk about living books that you don't want to miss. Check out here speaking schedule for 2016 to see where she will be!

Alrighty, let's turn things over to Paige...

What Are Living Books?

What is a living book?

Everywhere you turn, homeschoolers are touting living books and the benefits of using them in educating our children.  The title is being slapped on all kinds of different books, so much so that many non-living books are being labeled as living.

Even I have been guilty of mislabeling a reference book as living in the distant past, which largely came out of a misunderstanding in the beginning of my homeschooling journey of what a living book truly is.  As we have gotten further into our journey, I have dug deeper into what really constitutes a living book.

I have learned quite a bit along the way and now share this knowledge in my writing and speaking. Today, I am here to share the basic of living books with the Sassy-sci peeps!

Living Books Definition

Here is my definition of a living book:

Living book (n) – A book that engages the reader and draws him or her into learning more about a subject; it is typically narrative in style and written by an authority on the material.

Living books are written by someone with a passion for the material or by someone who has experienced the story first hand.

The author pulls the reader into the story and presents the scientific or historical facts in such a way that the student hardly realizes they are learning.  (You can see these 10 posts about living books to learn even more about the subject.)

The Benefits Of Living Books

There are many benefits to using living books in your homeschool! Here are a few of them:

  • Living books are exciting!
  • Living books draw the reader in.
  • Living books present the facts as part of a story line.
  • Living books typically lead to greater retention of the material.

The Downsides Of Living Books

There are a few downsides to using living books in your homeschool. Here are a few of them:

  • Living books are somewhat limited because they focus on one specific topic, which takes time to explore.
  • Living books often must be read as a whole to learn the material.
  • With living books, some students get bogged down in the story and lose sight of what they are learning.

When the benefits of using a living book outweigh the downsides, it's time to consider these types of books for the subject you are studying!

Paige Hudson

Wrapping It Up

And that my friends are the answer to the question - what are living books. We couldn't have said it better ourselves!

We love to answer questions from our Sassy-Sci (or soon-to-be Sassy-Sci) peeps! If you have a question email it our way or check out all the user questions posts to see if we have already covered it.


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