Homeschooling high school literature is one of my favorite things to do, but choosing which books to read in a given academic year can be hard. So many great books, so little time! What’s the method I’ve found helpful? Here’s one answer for how to choose books for homeschooling high school literature.
How to Choose Books for Homeschooling High School Literature
Literature is foundational for the English/Language Arts credits. Knowing what books are worth the time and effort of reading and interacting will make Literature meaningful rather than overwhelming. Here are some tips for making those hard choices, or click for a short video blog on this same topic.
Pick a type of literature as a focus for the year.
Choose American or British or World Literature, for example, or a specialty area like Great Christian Writers or Mystery Writers for a student who is especially interested in one area of study.
Choose 9 books, one for each month of the typical academic year.
More than 9 and it’s easy to get bogged down. Less than 9 and you may not have enough for a strong entry on your high school transcript.
(A high school student should aim for 15-25 books read by the end of the school year, but choosing 9 for your lit class means the other 16 can be books to enhance learning in other subject areas, or simply books of his or her personal choosing; that way reading doesn’t feel like it’s always an assignment, but can instead be a joy in life as well.)
*Select at least one book that you (the teacher) fell in love with when you first read it.
Your passion for the book will model a contagious attitude to your student.
Select at least one book that is BELOW his/her reading level.
A book that was written for children may well have levels of meaning that can be discovered by an older reader, without the difficulties of vocabulary, complex sentence structure, etc.
Select 2 or 3 that are a real stretch for your students.
They should practice perseverance in earning that homeschool high school literature credit! It’s very rewarding to make it to the finish line with a tough book.
*Make use of anthologies and online sources of short stories, essays and poems to create a collection that can then be treated as a “book” on your list.
It’s a money-savvy way to get curriculum.
Click here for a list of essays and articles to read during high school.
*Choose a story the student already knows from either a movie adaptation, or just because it’s famous.
It’s okay for him/her to know the ending before you begin! And for some students (especially reluctant readers) knowing the framework first helps keep them on track.
Use literature study guides to incorporate vocabulary learning, understanding of the context and the author as a person, supplemental resources and suggested writing or project ideas into your reading adventure.
I recorded a video blog on the importance of literature study guides, and I bet it will convince you to give this resource a try if you’ve never used a guide before.
Our EBookstore has lots of study guides for classic works of literature available at a low price.
Here’s my vlog on Choosing Literature
Click here to read about the importance of reading classic literature from the Guardian.