Learn 5 super-easy strategies to keep your child's attention during read aloud times. 

It happened again.

I had read an entire selection from our current read-aloud to my child. I could see her attention wandering, and by the end I knew I had lost her.

I knew it was an interesting book. I knew if I could keep her attention while I was reading aloud she would love it.

Bu when I finished with that short section, I asked her to tell me anything that she could remember.


Deer in the headlights.

It was obvious what I was doing just wasn't working. Being a being an analytical person, I knew I needed to figure out how to keep my child engaged during our read aloud times.

So I came up with 5 strategies that almost guarantee that my child will stay engaged (and yours, too!). 

I found them so useful that I made them into a bookmark that I use all the time! And It’s free for you to download in the CM Resource Library.

NOTE: Read aloud books are books that you read aloud to your children. They don't need to be fiction, but they should be living books for maximum engagement.

what you'll need to keep your child engaged during read alouds

1. Recap Last Week's Reading

Because we use a Charlotte Mason homeschooling approach, we read books slowly and over several weeks. This means we often read from a particular book only once a week.

This also means that if we pick up a book, that it's hard to remember off the top of our head exactly what happened the last time we read.

This is where the recap comes in.

Do you remember watching TV when you were a kid? Before Netflix when you could binge watch a whole season and one night?

When the episodes only came out once a week, at the beginning of each episode the announcer would briefly recap what had happened in previous episodes.

"Previously, on all my children."

Even cartoons would do this. "When we last saw our intrepid duo...."

We should do the same thing with our books. Help your child recall what happened the last time, so that they can get excited about what will happen next.

If you have trouble remembering, jot a few notes down on a Post-It note at the end of today's reading. 

Just a few words to jog your memory.

Stick it in your book with the bookmark below so you can easily refer to it next week.

That slides right into previewing what you're going to be reading this week.

2. be a movie trailer: preview this week's reading

Think about watching a movie trailer on TV.

It teases the exciting parts of the movie.

They don't give the whole plot away, but they give you just little snippets to make you want to watch it.

You call to your husband who is doing dishes in the kitchen while you're sitting on the couch, "Hey, honey? That looks so good. We're going to see that as soon as it comes out!"

A girl can dream, right?

Even without theatrical trailers, when you're telling someone about a movie that you want them to see, you'll tell them little bits of it. Just enough to get them to want to watch it,  but you're not giving them a full blow by blow account.

We want to do the same thing when we were reading to our child. If we've looked over the passage, we can give them just a little bit. Just enough to pique their interest.

No spoilers!

"Today we're going to find out what happened to Harry and Ron after they crashed the car into the woods."

Include your child in this.

Ask them, "What do you think's going to happen? Do you think their parents are going to be angry with them?"

Not only does this involve children in the story, but it also helps them develop the skill of predicting what will happen next.

It will help develop them into more active readers when they are reading their own books.

After you've recapped last week's reading, previewed this week's reading like a movie trailer, then remind them to listen closely.

3. Remember to Listen Closely

Even with getting kids excited about what's going to happen, it still helps to just give them that little reminder to pay attention.

I use a very simple, "Remember to listen closely now."

Or sometimes, I'll say, "Remember to pay attention."

Either one reminds your child what she's supposed to be doing.

It's just a little reminder but it seems to really help when they're told, that this is what they need to do.

Once we've recapped last week's episode, previewed this week's passage, and reminded our child to listen closely, now it's time to actually start reading.

And the only way to read is to read with feeling.

4. Read with Feeling

It doesn't matter how engaging a book is, if it's being read in a monotone voice it's hard to follow.

It doesn't matter how old the listener is. If the presentation is boring, the listener will be bored.

Think about your favorite audio books.

Chances are, the narrator is involved with the book. He's able to convey that by how he reads it.

This means doing the voices if you're reading something with dialogue.

It means putting emotion into your voice.

It means slowing down in the difficult places and speeding up in the exciting places.

Convey as much emotion as you can while you're reading to your kids.

Use your entire body. Use hand, arm, and facial gestures.

If you come to a part where a character slowly cracks open a door and peaks around the door frame, then act that out while you're reading.

If you're not used to doing this, it can feel really embarrassing. Even if your only audience is your kids.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

This alone is the number one way to keep your child's attention. 

If you are engaged, they are much more likely to be engaged.

But it doesn't matter how exciting you make the reading if those who are listening don't understand the words.

5. Define Words in Context

Listening comprehension is a complicated mix of being interested in the material, understanding the meaning of the words, and drawing on our previous experiences for background knowledge.

It doesn't matter how interesting the material is, if the vocabulary is too high.

One way around this is to define words in context. 

What that means is we're not going to write vocabulary words on a chalkboard before we start. We're going to give the definition of some of the difficult words as we're reading.

"Peter's coat and shoes were plainly to be seen upon the scarecrow, topped with an old tam-o-shanter of Mr. McGregor's." 

Look up from the book, look at your child, and say, "A tam-o'-shanter is a kind of floppy hat."

Then continue reading. "Little Benjamin said it spoils people's clothes to squeeze under a gate..."

See how this doesn't interrupt the flow of the story? But it gives your child enough information that they can picture things in their head. Even if they don't know the words.

Don't do this to every word. Just the ones that you know your child does not understand and that would be hard to figure out just from context. (Is a tam-o-shanter a scarf? A hat? A cape?)

If you're having to stop every sentence to define words in context, then the vocabulary of that particular book is probably too high.

Find a book that will be easier for your child to understand, that still has good vocabulary in it, and then work your way into these higher level books.


Did you skip to the end? Here are the five strategies to use every time you're doing a read-aloud with your child.

  • Recap last week's reading
  • Preview this week's reading (think movie trailer)
  • Say, "Remember to listen closely"
  • Read with feeling
  • Define words in context

I put these five tips onto a beautiful, simple, done-for-you bookmark to keep as an easy reference.

They are printed four to a page, so all you have to do is print out a sheet, cut on the solid lines, and then fold the top on the dotted lines.

One of the things that I hate about bookmarks is that they always slip out when I open a book. By hooking that folded part over the top of the page, the bookmark stays in place.

Not only is it a handy way to keep your place, but you'll be reminded every time you open that book to do these five simple steps.

Soon it will become second nature!

One of the most frequently asked question by those new to Charlotte Mason is, “what exactly is a living book?”

What does that term mean?

How do I know if a book is living?

When I first started learning about Charlotte Mason through curricula that billed itself as CM (but actually wasn’t), and reading blogs here and there, I developed the idea that living book meant historical fiction.

Other places I’ve seen people say that a living book is wrapped in a fictional story, or any book that ‘draws a reader in’ is living.

This leads to the erroneous conclusion that all you have to do to make a bunch of facts into a living book is to write them in a fictional story, or even that junk-food type books that kids love (Junie B Jones, Magic Treehouse) are living books.

But just because a child loves a book doesn’t mean it’s a living book.

My definition of a living book

Here is my own short definition:

A living book is a book of literary quality, often written for a popular audience by a single author (sometimes two) who is passionate about his subject.  It transmits ideas rather than just facts, and feeds the mind.

Let’s take that definition bit by bit.

  • A living book is a book

I think we should start here — by definition, a living book is a book.  Not a movie. Not a youtube video or documentary. Not a radio production or a video game.

A living book is a book.

  • Next, “of literary quality

This does not mean… ‘anything wrapped in a story shell.’

…It doesn’t mean any book that is narrative.

…It doesn’t mean any book that ‘draws a child in.’

It is a book of literary quality.

Beautiful writing.  Varied sentences. Wide and rich vocabulary.

It is a book that you as an adult love to read as much as your children do, because the quality of the writing is excellent.

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” — C. S. Lewis

I will say the same thing about a living book.  If you don’t enjoy it as an adult, if it is a pain to slog through because the writing is so stilted or written on such a low level, it is not of literary quality.

Continuing —

  • often written for a popular audience by a single author who loves his subject

Not a book written by committee.  Not a textbook. Not meant for ‘educational purposes only.’

This is a book that is written with such passion and joy, and written so lucidly, that everyone can enjoy it.

Even if they aren’t assigned it for school.  Especially if they aren’t assigned it for school!

It is not a lecture that has been written down.

If you open up a book, read a few pages, and would never think of reading it if you weren’t required to, then put it back.

Have you ever known a person who you could listen to them talk for hours, no matter the subject, because they had such a way with words that listening was a delight?  Or that was able to transmit their enthusiasm and draw you in to their subject even when you had no prior interest in it?

Or that could take anything and wrap it in a story of personal anecdote so skillfully that you hardly even realized you were learning because they were such a joy to listen to?

That’s what you want out of a book.

You want a book that grabs you by the collar, pulls you in, and won’t let go, even if you have no prior interest in the subject.   Because the author writes so well.


  • It transmits ideas rather than just facts.

This is a harder one to define.  Ideas. But let’s take a look at some books that just transmit facts and pull kids in, for comparison.

The most common style of books you’ll find in the non-fiction children’s section these days is the DK Eyewitness style.  They are not all published by DK, but they share the style.

Lots of pictures.  Little snippets of text.  Fact. Fact. Amazing fact! More pictures.

Now, look at a page of this book.  Take out all the pictures, and just leave the text.  Since there are often text boxes scattered all over the page with one or two central paragraphs, you’ll need to mentally draw those odd pieces of text together.

Now read through it, without the pictures.

Does it flow?  Is it beautiful?  Does it draw you in?

Or is it choppy?  Clunky? Does it read like a list of facts for a 4th grader’s book report?

I’m going to write a few pieces from my daughter’s favorite book about bugs here, so you can see what I mean.

On the page titled Wasps, we have three paragraphs telling a little about different kinds of wasps, then several drawings of different kinds of wasps.

California oak gall wasp.  This type of wasp lays her eggs in oak leaves.  Blue-black spider wasp. The spider wasp catches spiders to feed her young.  Giant hornet. Like the yellow jacket, the hornet is a wasp with a powerful sting.


Then we move into some more interesting text, also scattered around a large drawing of a wasp:

The bright colors of the wasp probably acts as a warning to its enemies–keep away or else.  When a creature such as a bird attacks a wasp and gets stung, it learns to link the black and yellow stripes with the painful sting.  This makes it less likely to attack another wasp. The wasp’s antennae are covered with tiny hairs and are highly sensitive to touch and smell.  The antennae may also detect changes in temperature and humidity.

And so on.

But do you see here?  It’s all just fact after fact.    There’s no … personality.   It’s like listening to someone read from an encyclopedia entry.

If it weren’t for the large drawings and pictures over every page, my child would not be interested at all.

Pictures should enhance the text, not make it so the text is bearable!

One last point —

Living books can be fiction or non-fiction.  They can be historical fiction, they can be non-fiction wrapped in a fictional story.

They can be classics (20 years old or more) or newly published.

But just because a book is fiction, or historical fiction, or wrapped in a fictional story, does not necessarily make it a living book.

The litmus test is not whether or not it’s told in story form.

The litmus test is if it is literary quality and transmits ideas rather than just facts (food for the mind).

When you evaluate a book, is the quality so high that you want to save it for your grandchildren or even great-grandchildren?

If so, it’s probably a living book.

Want to remember the post What is a Living Book? Pin it to your favorite Pinterest board!

pinterest book with pages in heart shape what are living books

One of the biggest troubles newbies to Charlotte Mason have is reading books slowly.

You look at all the great books on a curriculum list and dive right in … but then you’ve finished an entire term’s worth of reading in two weeks and think “this isn’t enough!”

Or, you don’t follow anyone’s term schedule but just sit down with your kids and read. You’ve never even heard that you should read books slowly.

Your kids don’t want you to stop reading, so why should you?

Let’s find out.


In What Is Charlotte Mason, I mentioned that we savor rather than gulp our books.

But what does this mean?

It means that we read books slowly. 40-50 pages per 11-12 week term.

What? That’s crazy slow, you say. There’s no way we could make a book last that long!

Yes you can.

You read only 3-4 pages per week. Mostly, you’ll read this amount in a single session. In Form 1, for example, History is done once per week for about 10-15 minutes.

Each session you’d talk about what happened last week (see this post I wrote for Wildwood Curriculum), perhaps talk about what your kids think will happen next, read the pages, then have the children narrate (tell back) to you.

After narration, talk excitedly about what you read. Maybe bring out the map to find places you’ve read about.

This will take approximately 10-15 minutes. Does that sound too little? Another staple of Charlotte Mason is short lessons.

Jodi Clark put this very well:

“It is very important to stick to the time period set for a class–this is a key piece to the method; it enables the child to slowly digest the information presented, which fosters deeper learning, understanding, and relations.

It’s a good sign they are delighted with the book if they want you to keep going. But they’ll have to wait until the next time the class is scheduled–usually a week.”



Stop anyway.

Yes, stop even if they want you to read more.

This builds anticipation for next week, and also lets those shorter chunks simmer in their minds. They will tend to think more deeply on the scenes and topics, because they are getting them in small pieces.

Remember that Charlotte Mason is like drinking from a cup rather than a firehouse.

A trickle rather than a pour.

It also helps to develop the memory when a student forgets from one week to the next, then has to remember.

Even if the memory is jogged in order to remember.

It’s similar to Spaced Repetition, though the aim of reading slowly isn’t to memorize.


No. Use normal length books.

Books are generally read over several terms, and often over several years (a year is made up of 3 terms, approximately 11-12 weeks each).

This is also a reason why you should use only high quality books, that aren’t written down to children, and are full of ideas rather than just facts.

When you use a book over a period of several months to years, it needs to be interesting and well written. Anything less will guarantee that you (and your kids) will be well sick of it.

Another reason to use books that will span multiple ages is that your children won’t grow out of them in a year.

Have you ever used a curriculum that was perfect at the beginning of the year, but your child had such massive growth mid-year, that by the end it was well beneath her level? It happened with my own daughter quite frequently.

By using high quality books that span ages, you’ll decrease the chances of this happening.


Can you imagine trying to read a single short book of historical fiction over an entire year? Or perhaps spreading out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone over a two year period?

That story would drag!
No, fiction isn’t generally included in slow reading.

That is to say, light fiction isn’t.
In Form I (approximate ages 6-9), books of fiction weren’t generally assigned. Instead, short biographies and fairy tales were.

Form II (approximate ages 9-12) is when we really start seeing fiction every term in the PNEU programmes. Still, these are done at the rate of 1-2 books per term.

The vast majority of books in a Charlotte Mason education are non-fiction.


Yes and no.

Multiple books are read every term, sometimes 3-4 books per subject. But they are still read slowly. They are still read at the rate of 40-50 pages per term.

Books are an integral part of a Charlotte Mason education, but they are only a part of it.

Just as important is working with your hands, cultivating a sense of beauty, and becoming a naturalist.

It is a well-balanced approach to education.

By reading books slowly, it keeps the reading manageable.


In light of this, it should be easier to evaluate curricula that claim to be Charlotte Mason or draw from CM.

  • Lots of books listed? Fine – could go either way
  • Mostly historical fiction? Ehh …. you’ll definitely want to dig more. Charlotte Mason used some historical fiction starting in Form II, but only 1-2 books per term.
  • Are the books read quickly or are they spread out over several terms (or years)? While it’s ok for some books to be read more quickly, the majority should be read slowly.

If the books are read more quickly, consider that the curriculum might actually be more Waldorf or Classical. These are both valid homeschooling styles, but they aren’t Charlotte Mason.


  • Keep readings short
  • Read only 3-4 pages per week from each book, on average, to let the material simmer
  • spread each book over several terms or even years
  • Stay strong when your child begs for one more chapter to build the anticipation

Have you tried slow reading in your homeschool? I’d love to know how it works for you! Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email.

Charlotte Mason picture

You took an online quiz that said you scored high for Charlotte Mason, but you have only a vague idea what it is. You’ve looked at blog after blog, website after website, but you’re still fuzzy on the details.

You don’t want to spend days reading about the fine points of a CM education, you just want a general overview so you can see if it might even be something you want to look deeper into.

Here it is.

A simple, easy to understand overview of Charlotte Mason Philosophy.


Charlotte Mason was a late 19th/early 20th-century educator who used a whole child approach with a liberal (broad) education, using real books written for a popular audience by authors who love their subjects. No workbooks or worksheets, and plenty of space for childhood.


Intrigued? Let’s go a bit deeper.


Charlotte Mason believed in giving all children a liberal education. That has nothing to do with political leanings, rather it’s used in the sense of a liberal arts degree in college — a broad education, covering a multitude of subjects. It is not, however, limited to the ‘liberal arts.’ Charlotte Mason used cutting-edge science books and her aim was to raise naturalists.


Living books give new people more fits than any other area, I think. Living books are literary quality books filled with ideas rather than simply a litany of facts. When I say ‘literary quality’ I don’t mean narrative or wrapped in a story. They sure can be, but it isn’t necessary.

The language should be beautiful but not excessively flowery. It should not be dumbed down using simplified words and sentence structure.

They can be either fiction or non-fiction, though most of the books in the PNEU programmes are non-fiction. Fiction books tend to be catogorized under Literature and Reading.

Most classics are living books, but that doesn’t mean that modern books can’t be. It’s simply that living books tend to stand the test of time, so classics tend to be living. However, modern books like A Really Short History of Nearly Everything, I Am Malala (Young Readers Edition), and A Little History of the United States are also living books.

Ask yourself these questions when looking at books:

  • Would I read this if it weren’t required for school?
  • Is it written well enough that both children and adults find it interesting?
  • Will the writing stand the test of time? Would I want to save this for my grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren?

It’s something you have to develop a sense for.  Read this post for for a more thorough discussion of living books.

One more point about Charlotte Mason and books — books are savored rather than gulped. They are read slowly, often only 4-5 pages per week, and often a single book is spread over several years.


Charlotte Mason’s aim was to raise naturalists. People who had a deep knowledge of place, a thorough knowledge of their surroundings. We try to educate our children in such a way that they develop a profound connection to their environment, the plants and animals that live in their same space, and the land itself.

We do this through journaling, yes, but also through adventures. Scout games and adventure was an integral part of a CM education. Nature should be experienced, not read about or quietly observed!


This is not a boring education filled with dry, dusty old books. Children are not dragged through the school day, but “children delight in their studies.” If your kids think their CM education is dreadfully boring, then something is very wrong.

We read books about exciting, inspiring people, both modern and old. We read tales of adventure and travel around the world meeting other cultures.

We play scout games and get covered in mud, track animals after a rain, pretend to be the boy from My Side of the Mountain. We build forts and live life outdoors. We play with the chickens and come inside with straw all over our clothes.


Body, Mind, and Soul. It sounds cliche, but it’s true.

  • Body — working with our hands to make useful objects, gross and fine motor movements, breaks in the school day for play, dancing, physical activity, as well as plenty of time every day outside to practice whole body movements naturally (read: climb trees and roll down hills)
  • Mind — Academics. CM is gentle but rigorous and thorough. Our students get not only the standard school subjects, but also art and music appreciation, Shakespeare, multiple foreign languages, and high quality literature.
  • Soul — Religion or philosophy, appreciating art and music but also creating both. Plenty of time in nature feeds the soul.


Charlotte Mason believed that people should not insulate themselves.  They should be exposed to a broad variety of cultures around the world, and speak several languages.  Cultural exposure begins early, and by the time a student was in 15, he would be studying 3 languages,  not including English.


After all that, you may be wondering what Charlotte Mason is NOT. Here’s a few:


While very similar in the early years, the academics deviate significantly around 3rd grade. Also, Waldorf is done in blocks while CM is not. With Waldorf, you’ll dive deeply into a subject for 3-6 weeks depending on grade level. In Charlotte Mason, you’ll spend a year on that same information, but you will also be working with multiple other subjects at the same time.

Waldorf is a pour of one topic, Charlotte Mason is multiple topics dripping at the same time. Over the course of several years, you’ll have covered a similar amount of information.


Charlotte Mason is structured, and no provision is made for children’s interests in the choice of school books.

CM doesn’t discourage children’s interests; on the contrary, hours every day are left for the child to pursue his or her own interests. They are exposed to a wide variety of activities and subjects so that they can experience and then choose what they’d like.

But there is a definite structure. It is not leaving your child to decide what he wants to study when.


By that same token, CM is not a method where you hand your kids the books, tell them what to read, then see them hours later.

Charlotte Mason requires discussion and interaction. Discussion allows the parent to clear up misunderstandings, help develop the student’s logic and thinking skills, and share the material.

Parents are also expected to provide object lessons occasionally, where a specific point is cleared up, or information that is not provided in the books is covered. Object lessons can be done in any subject.


Some textbooks may be used in the older high school years, and a grammar text was used in the PNEU programmes beginning at about age 10. But the vast majority of books used are real books written by one person who is passionate about the subject.

There is no effort to align a Charlotte Mason curriculum with Common Core, and textbooks in general are avoided. They are usually written by committee and transmit facts rather than ideas, the opposite of a living book.

The Takeaway

I hope by this point you have enough of a picture of CM to know if you want more information, or to be able to say nope, this isn’t for us.

If you’d like to continue learning about Charlotte Mason, there is no better place to begin than with her own books. She wrote six!

I plan to start a podcast soon about living a Charlotte Mason lifestyle, regardless of your spiritual beliefs. I’ll keep you posted!

Do you have specific questions about Charlotte Mason? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe (button on the right) to get tips and techniques for a Charlotte Mason education.

I’m sure you’ve seen them — curricula that people tell you is Charlotte Mason and is absolutely loaded with historical fiction.

When I first started homeschooling 17 years ago, the choices for curricula were slim.  Facebook didn’t exist, forums were in their infancy, and email lists were spread mainly through word of mouth rather than search engines.  Even learning what curricula was available was a challenge.

I chose a literature-based homeschooling curriculum, but we struggled with it.  Later, we switched to a different literature-rich curriculum with less historical fiction.  And suddenly, our joy was back.   It’s no that the first curriculum was bad.  With that switch,  I realized that my daughter simply did not learn well from historical fiction.

Sure, they were fun, but as far as learning history that way?  A bust.

Both of these curricula though were — and still are — widely touted as using the Charlotte Mason method.  

I thought that while Charlotte Mason was a nice philosophy, it obviously couldn’t work for my kid-who-doesn’t-like-historical-fiction.

I was wrong.

Historical Fiction in the Programmes

When I first began really digging into the PNEU programmes in preparation for writing Wildwood Curriculum, I still held that deeply ingrained belief that Charlotte Mason = historical fiction.

What I found was something else entirely.

While historical fiction can be used to help ‘flesh out’ studies or even bring them to life, they are not a major component of a Charlotte Mason education.

In Form I in the PNEU (Parent’s National Education Union) programmes from the 1920s and early 1930s, we see no historical fiction used for either literature or history.

What we do see is books about children in other countries, and fairy tales from various cultures.

Literature vs. History

Forms II and above for that same time period do have historical fiction, at a rate of 1-2 books per term. These are listed under “literature” rather than “history”.  While they could be used to add flavor to the historical studies, they were never intended to replace the non-fiction living books used for history.

This is good news for those of us whose children shy away from historical fiction.  If your child doesn’t like it, simply use a different high quality book for literature.

Look at those figures again — 1-2 books per term.  That’s 3-6 books per year, though I found that the programmes tended to have 3-4 books per year of historical fiction.  This is a far cry from the literature-based curriculum I used when I first started, which has 25 books of historical fiction for their program meant for ages 8-12.

What would Charlotte do?

Some would argue that historical fiction was in its infancy in this time period, and that is the reason that Charlotte Mason didn’t use historical fiction as extensively as many literature-based curricula that call themselves CM do today.

This is a rather touchy argument. It’s rather like saying, “If this were as popular and widespread when Miss Mason was alive as it is today, surely she would have used it more. Therefore, we are justified in using these in a much higher proportion than she did.”

This is problematic on a few levels. First, no one actually knows what Charlotte Mason would do with today’s resources. She may have used historical fiction much more than we do now, or she may have used it much less. She may have used exactly the same amount, that is, approximately one book per term.

Second, when we say with a broad stroke “this is what she would have done,” we take away from the purpose of studying her works and programmes. In my opinion, it’s fine to say “this is what I have decided for my own family” but not “this is what Charlotte would have done if only ….”

Third, historical fiction as a genre was actually established in the early 1800s. Sir Walter Scott was the one who brought it to popularity, but he wrote Waverly in 1814. There had been a full hundred years of additional historical fiction to draw from by the time the PNEU programmes were in use.

And yet, we still see generally only one book per term that might be considered historical fiction today.

Does “Living Book” = Historical Fiction?

Why the disconnect? I think it’s the emphasis on “living books” in a Charlotte Mason education. That is not a problem; as a matter of fact, living books are indispensable to the method. The problem comes when people think that “living book” equals “fiction.”

I plan to do a blog post on living books in the near future, but let me just say this here: while a living book can be fiction, it is not a requirement. The requirement is that they be written in a literary manner.

As a matter of fact, the vast majority of living books in the PNEU programmes were non-fiction.

The Takeaway

Judicious use of historical fiction in a Charlotte Mason education is fine, but don’t rely on them for the bulk of your children’s education.

One to two books per term should be the maximum, beginning at approximately 9 or 10 years of age (Form II).

More than that and you are taking away from other essential elements of a CM education.