When that final bell rings on the last day of school, the last thing on the kids’ minds is the next school year. They want a summer of fun, and they don’t want to do anything they won’t enjoy. Despite this, students have to read. If the kids read books that the school will eventually make them read, the students will not only learn over the summer, but they’ll get ahead in their English classes as well.
But who wants to spend their summer reading boring old classics that the schools require?
This article is about those exceptions to the “required books are boring” mentality. Listed are some of the favorite school-required books as chosen by students, because if the student enjoys the book, it’ll seem like less of a chore.
“A Separate Peace” by John Knowles is usually required around 9th or 10th grade. It’s an excellent story about boys in a private school that protected their students from forced enlistment into the military. The story itself takes place in the 1940s, but is narrated reflectively by the main character years later. The book chronicles the events of boys as they come of age and make decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is usually required between 10th and 12th grade. It’s a favorite of several high school students because, like “A Separate Peace”, the language is simplistic and the book isn’t worded as heavily as most required novels. The novel tales of a rich man, Gatsby, as he searches for the affection of his love, Daisy. The book is a fairly quick read, and is generally read again by those that read it in high school.
“A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest J. Gaines is usually required in 12th grade, sometimes only in advanced English classes because of it’s sometimes questionable language. The book is, again, simply worded (usually the deal breaker for a student and a required book), and riveting for teenagers because of it’s relation to Stephen King’s “The Green Mile”. The book is about an educated schoolteacher in a poor black community, trying to see that Jefferson, a slow man, wrongfully convicted of the murder of a white store owner, walks to the electric chair as a man. This novel has a fair amount of pages, but still reads easily and quite quickly.
When asking a high school student what their favorite required book was, it’s likely that one of these three titles will come out their mouth. They’re the most accepted, loved, and acclaimed books (by the students), and are the easiest to read over the summer.
Summer reading shouldn’t be a chore. The student might as well enjoy what they read, otherwise they won’t retain it for the school year.