Could English teachers or homeschool parents give me advise on classes I am planning?
I am planning English classes for homeschool students, 1 class for Middle school level, 1 for grades 9 &10 and 1 for grades 11 & 12. Any suggestions on great textbooks for those levels? Great novels for those levels?
"Where the Red Fern Grows" is one of my middle school favorites.
Almost forgot about that book! Such a good one.
My son and I read that book aloud when he was in 4th or 5th grade. We loved it and my other two younger children listened in, but I have vowed never to read it again, I just can't take it! Read it for yourself and find out why!
Hey there, graceomalley. Let me say, first that I am not an English teacher or even a parent; however I do have fond memories of good novels from those years you mention. In ninth grade, I believe it was, I read the classic J.D. Salinger novel "Catcher in the Rye." I remember "Football Dreams" being a good one --- I liked the novel even though I don't care for football and never have (I don't remember the author). In the eleventh and twelfth grades you might challenge them with Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."
I think a ninth grader can handle Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." At that level I remember we read "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian writer. You know the drill.
Here's a few unorthodox proposals I hope you might consider: "The Dain Curse" by Dashiell Hammet (I think they can handle that in ninth grade); how about Tarzan novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs for seventh and eight grade [you laugh but those books are quite good in spite of your memories of the cartoon and old-time Sunday Tarzan show]; how about a novel called "The Portrait" by Ian Pears (the book is quite short for a novel, but nevertheless this should only be given to the eleventh and twelfth graders, I think.
I could be wrong but I think anything by Patricia Highsmith should only be given to a twelfth grader. I think 9-12 might enjoy the crime novels of Elmore Leonard (maybe save John Grisham for 11 and 12).
And don't forget to feature a generous helping of the science fiction novels of Phillip K. Dick. And don't forget about the fantasy writer Harlan Ellison (for grade 12 only, I think).
Great question. Thank you.
I am an English major and a former teachre (taught religion not English though, but my roommate was the English teacher...) but still want to weigh in.
With the HS students one idea could be to match up the literature selections with what they (or most of them) are studying in history that year. My junior year of HS I took American History and American Lit, and I really liked how the two played against eachother.
Anyway, some good middle school books - The Outsiders, Romeo & Juliet.
For HS some authors/books I'd recommend would be:
The Scarlet Letter
Red Badge of Courage
The Great Gatsby
Catcher In The Rye
And then of course some poetry and such. If you decide not to go with a traditional "text book," then having your students use resource texts like Strunk & White's Elements of Style or the MLA Handbook could be very helpul! For the HS students making sure they can write a good paper and properly format it using MLA will definitely be essential if they're planning to go onto college! (I was surprised by how many people couldn't do those things in my freshman english comp class in college).
Lastly, a lot of HS websites have great information on their English department websites which might give you an additional idea of books to teach, and at what level.
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