Wednesday, November 16, 2011

RTW: Required Reading, Oh Yeah

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link -- or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This week's topic: In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curricula, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

This question is right up my alley. As an English education major, I've been considering this very problem for a while now. Actually, I was thinking about what I would make kids read if I were a teacher back when I was still in high school.

I like to plan ahead like that. I never really had a problem with reading some of the "classics" that were on the required reading list. I like them. A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorite books of all time. Same goes for the rest of the lot.

However, I feel like today's fiction and even the fiction of a few decades ago is also worth exploring in the high school setting. Yes, it's good to keep the classics well in mind and to introduce students to them while they're still under some sort of obligation to at least look at them.

But it's also important to show them that some of the more modern texts are worth reading as well. A few that I would include are:  

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (Although I know that some high schools do teach it, or so I've heard, but mine didn't.)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (The post is now complete!)  

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (In conjunction perhaps with Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.)  

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (Because we all need to read a little ridiculous into our lives.)

I could go on forever like this, naming books that I want other people to read and to love, but then I'd be here forever and you'd all get tired of reading this post. Besides, I rather like the list as it is. It's eclectic, but not too much so. I have a modern work, a book that's a classic in my opinion, a YA dystopia, and a farcical whimsy of a tale.

So, what books would y'all require students to read?


  1. "Yes, it's good to keep the classics well in mind and to introduce students to them while they're still under some sort of obligation to at least look at them.But it's also important to show them that some of the more modern texts are worth reading as well."

    Well put, Bailey! I agree wholeheartedly. I had similar selections on my list :)

  2. Thanks, Jaime! I'm gonna go check out your list now. :D

  3. Agreed. A balance of contemps and modern with the classics. Great list!

  4. We did THE PRINCESS BRIDE at my school--Upper middle school, I think. It was awesome. And I agree with all of these except THE SOUND AND THE FURY. Good lord, I hate that book, lol.

  5. Why am I not surprised to see Harry Potter on your list?

    Actually, I think it ought to be required reading--but not yet. I don't think there are enough high schoolers who *haven't* read it to require it. :)

  6. Fantastic choices! THE PRINCESS BRIDE is one of my all-time favorite movies, but would you believe I've never read the book?! Time to remedy that, I think. :)

  7. Oh, yeah! I'd forgotten about The Princess Bride! I've read it before--a long time ago--and really enjoyed it. But I've seen the movie so many times I can quote it. :)

  8. Ugh, I've never been able to get through Faulkner. I've always wondered if there was some secret to understanding it that I've missed; maybe a section on his books in school would have helped.

  9. Good selections! I haven't read any Faulkner yet. (for shame, huh?) But I hear from a lot of people that he's good stuff.

    Anyway, this looked like an awesome topic. Too bad I didn't get in on it this time. I can think of a few books they should teach! (Alice in Wonderland, for one)

  10. Cassie effin FambroNovember 17, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    The Hunger Games is being read, now. We read The Princess Bride!

  11. Oh dear! All of this Faulkner hate and ambivalence is making me sick at heart. I admit that he's a bit "out there," but his books are rich in meaning and worth reading. :) He's, like, deep, man. Haha!

    Thanks for all of the comments y'all!


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