What books should all high school seniors be required to read and why?
There are many assigned reading books in high school; which are the best, the most thought provoking, or life changing?
Making seniors nationwide read the same books seems a little like showing the same advertisement to every citizen in the country--it won't sell. Mind you, I am not in education, so this is just my opinion, but maybe books should be chosen from among the ranks of classics based on factors like demographics, core curriculum and state assessment exam results. In short, suit the books to the students instead of the students to the books.
These days it would be impressive if all high school seniors could even read.
As to the question, I am a big fan of quality over quantity. I took one class in college where we spent half the semester on a single book and it was a great experience. With that much time you can actually read the book in depth, think about it and then have profound discussions. I never thought high school made sense where they try and cram as many books through as possible. The result of that I think is that kids just end up frustrated. So, I think it would be better to focus on the process--in depth reading, critical thinking, and discussion--rather than worrying too much about the specific content. Any great classic will do.
The books that stuck with me the most in high school were not from senior year. "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe was my freshman honors reading. "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger was very interesting as well. I read that sophomore year I believe. My senior year was AP level and we read so many short stories and poetry that I cannot remember much.
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