Using Living Books & Literature Guides in your homeschool is a wonderful and rich way to help your kids learn about all kinds of topics. They are also a wonderful way to engage multiple children at one time, using various levels of literature guides for the same book.
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Using Living Books & Literature Guides In Your Homeschool
We use living books for many subjects of our homeschool including English, history, science, art, and more.
I have found, over the years, that literature guides come in handy for me to be able to get the most out of a well-written book (especially if I haven’t read it yet).
First of all, let me say that I do not use literature guides all year. Our history curriculum (Tapestry of Grace) keeps us reading a lot of great “living” books every week.
I have been blessed to find literature guides for several of our recommended history books, so I save them for when it’s time. When I pick up these guides, I keep them on the shelf in hopes of using about 3 a year.
Also, I have found that with having 5 children, and 3 that can read, it keeps them paying attention when we read round-robin style (taking turns). Of course the 7 yr. old doesn’t read as much as the 12 yr. old, but he pays attention, waiting diligently for his turn.
When we are reading our living books, we have at least 2 copies, sometimes 4, of the book. When we are studying a book together, I like to schedule in an hour of reading time several days a week for 3 weeks. We are often home on the weekends, so weekends are an option, if our school week is packed with other activities.
Places to Find Literature Guides
- Teacher Created Resources – Designed to foster comprehension and reinforce an understanding of literary elements, these resources guide students through both modern and classic novels with individual and collaborative exercises that encourage close reading. Students will be provided with ways to reflect and connect personally with some of the greatest works literature has to offer. Check out a review of TCR Mr. Popper’s Penguins here at TCC.
- Total Language Plus – As students read, they complete worksheets on comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar. They also choose from numerous enrichment ideas (including field trip suggestions and hands-on activities) and writing topics relating to the reading assignment. For example, when reading My Side of the Mountain, children are encouraged to make a willow whistle following Sam’s instructions; in The Trumpeter of Krakow, touring the fire department and researching different architectural styles are suggested.
- Progeny Press – study guides for literature from a Christian perspective
- EDCON – especially the Shakespeare series
- Beautiful Feet Lit. Guides – teach history through the power of literature. They offer homeschool literature curriculum packs for grades K-12. Check out our collection of reviews of Beautiful Feet Books here at TCC.
- Living Literature Grammar Packs is a series of 15 weekly language arts lessons centered around various twaddle-free fiction, non-fiction, and historical fiction picture books. Each week, your 3rd- to 5th-grade student is asked to read one of the books and complete a packet of language arts activities that relate to the book. The lessons are short and sweet, yet cover a vast array of language arts skills.
- 7 Sisters Homeschool Literature Guides – guides for teens that teach literature-learning skills but don’t kill the book and aren’t full of busywork. Their study guides only cover simple background, basic vocabulary, one or two literary themes or devices, and inferential skills-building questions.
- Also here is a list of 100 FREE Book Study Guides
- You can also find tons of literature guides at Teachers Pay Teachers
- Magic Tree House Curriculum – Passport to Adventures is an elementary unit study style curriculum that uses the Magic Tree House books (1-34) as a spine. It covers science, geography, art and more in a hands-on, fun, and multi-sensory way.
- Great Works Literature Guides – There are Great Works all-in-one teacher/student literature guide books for all ages, K-12. The research-based activities include text-dependent questions, student interpretation of vocabulary words, close reading exercises, and analyzing the text through writing. Comprehension questions are available in two levels of difficulty. There are also cross curricular activity pages including a grammar and other subject activity page for every section. Unit study suggestions and possible books to dig deeper are also listed. This gives you the option to dive further into the literature with other subjects.
More Homeschool Language Arts Resources
~ Originally published March 2009 by Brenda