Monday, July 7, 2014

A Reading List for the Reluctant Reader

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You know what's a little discouraging? Being a confirmed bibliophile homeschool mom and having boys who claim they don't like to read. Sometimes I feel like I've failed them somehow. As hard as it may be for me to understand or accept, not everyone loves to read. So while I may be very excited about having fewer things on my to-do list during the summer because it means I can read more, my high school son is planning on doing anything but read with his extra leisure time! Happily for me, my daughter does love reading, so we can discuss books together, and she understands exactly what I mean when I comment on "new book smell".
See? She gets it. But she's still in middle school and my high school son doesn't live and breathe books like this, and he certainly doesn't sniff them. Fellow book-aholics probably understand the joy of passing on the book-love to a child, and the niggling sense of failure when a child doesn't get absolutely giddy in a book store or library!

That brings us to the topic of Summer Reading for High School Students. My high school student isn't going to pick up very many books on his own during the summer. So my approach to the summer reading list is to promote the idea that he can get a head start on his literature courses for the coming school year if he gets even one or two of the books read during the summer, when he has fewer academic demands.

I've managed to get two boys that didn't love reading through high school at home, and I'm working on the third boy now. We all agree that it's important that they read some quality books, and my hope is that they will have a knowledge of important literature and its value; I also believe that it's entirely possible that they will gain a new appreciation for reading as they move further into adulthood. To that end, the Required Reading List in my homeschool (at least for the boys!) has to be pared down to those things that are most relevant to their studies and to their lives, and that I hope will hold their attention. Landon has already started working on his Grade 10 American Literature course from Lightning Lit (we are reviewing this course for the Schoolhouse Review Crew - our review will be posted at the end of July!) and I gave him as much choice as possible in which course he wanted to try. So first up on his reading list this summer is Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Once he's finished it (I hope it won't take all summer! LOL) I won't require any more reading for school until the fall. 
(Isn't it beautiful in all its vintage-ness?)

I am grateful for our library's summer reading program which offers rewards to teens for reading. That little added incentive of earning entries into drawings for gift cards or a Kindle or whatever does help!

Wondering what is on our homeschool's Required Reading List for the high school years? Following is the list of novels that are included in the courses we know that Landon will be taking. The titles in bold are the ones that are most likely to be non-negotiable - based on my opinion and the experiences of the older two boys. As for the others, we'll decide as we go! I bet when Kennady gets to her high school years (only a year away!), she will probably read almost all of these, and plenty of others as well!

Lightning Lit American Literature: Mid-Late 19th Century (Grade 10)
Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane
The Call of the Wild - Jack London

Exploring World History (Notgrass) (Grade 10)
Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
The Cat of Bubastes - G.A. Henty (we have already done this as a read-aloud, so I may not require it, depending on what he remembers)
Julius Caesar - William Shakespeare
The Imitation of Christ - Thomas a Kempis
Here I Stand (biography of Martin Luther) - Roland Bainton
Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan
A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
(one of the above four will be required - I will let him choose)
Eric Liddell: Pure Gold - David McCasland (this was the favorite of the older boys in this course)
The Hiding Place - Corrie Ten Boom
Animal Farm - George Orwell
The Abolition of Man - C.S. Lewis

Exploring America (Notgrass) (Grade 11)
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Narrative of the Life of David Crockett - David Crockett
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass - Frederick Douglass
Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe (won't be required again - already done!)
Company Aytch - Sam Watkins (older boys liked this one)
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
Humorous Stories and Sketches - Mark Twain
Up From Slavery - Booker T. Washington
In His Steps - Charles Sheldon
Mama's Bank Account - Kathryn Forbes
Christy - Catherine Marshall
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (one of my favorites from school - we read it in Grade 8)
The Giver - Lois Lowry

Other possibilities - likely to appear on our Summer Reading Lists!
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
The Last of the Mohicans - James Fennimore Cooper
The Lord of the Rings trilogy - J.R.R. Tolkien
1984 - George Orwell
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
The High House - James Stoddard (see why I love this book in this Tuesday's Treasures post)
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Around the World in Eighty Days - Jules Verne
What are your high school students reading during the summer? I'd especially like to know what the reluctant readers are doing! Leave a comment and let me know. Be sure to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog (this link will be live on Wednesday, July 9th) to see what's on the summer reading list for other Crew members. You can also visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog homepage to see lots of product reviews, and past blog cruise topics.

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Meg Falciani said...

Oh, I so know what you mean. My boys read under duress, though the biggest one is conceding that To Kill a Mockinbird is "pretty good." (It's probably my all-time favorite book -- it and The Grapes of Wrath -- so I would agree. lol) We are diving right into "school" books too...I don't have it in me to fight them to read something "for fun" on top of "for school." I'm looking forward to your Lightning Literature review -- Matthew is doing the 7th grade level, so I'm curious about the high school levels.

purple squirrel said...

;) love the photo of your daughter~ for mine it is the "old book smell" that she likes... :)

I have a few "out of the norm" recommendations on my post... :)

Kym said...

Meg - my daughter loved 7th grade Lightning Lit and she will be doing Grade 8 this coming year. So far, no complaints about 10th grade Lightning Lit, but he hasn't had to do the writing assignments yet! Bwaaa haaa haaa!!!

"old book smell" - "new book smell" - both are wonderful!! She did tell me once that library books only smell good when they are brand new, and I had to concede that point. LOL I'm looking forward to reading your post!

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