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The lazy days of summer may have arrived, but that does not mean learning has to stop completely. I am so grateful that my boys enjoy reading for pleasure. As much as the teens love to watch a movie or play video games, they will also grab a book and keep reading to devour the pages. With them in mind, I thought I’d share some suggestions of books that could fit the bill of summer reading for high school students.
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Summer Reading for High School Students ~ Classics
Just because we homeschool, that doesn’t mean we can’t read some of the ‘classic’ literature for fun or even titles that fit with upcoming studies for the new school year. I figure if high schools around the country issue a summer reading list with the expectation of titles being read during those lazy days, then my boys can do the same.
Beowulf ~ This one is something my senior is just starting and will have it count towards his British Literature course. He’s already asked about watching a movie version when he is done reading. There are MANY different versions of this book. The Beowulf edition we are using matches the Hewitt Homeschooling Lightning Literature and Composition: British Medieval course we are reviewing this summer.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a title that we did during American literature (and watched the movie with Gregory Peck.) I like this as a slice of life from a particular time period.
Lord of the Flies This title was a ‘must read’ when I was in high school. However, it has fallen out of favor in recent years. I really want my boys to read it to see just how ‘utopian’ a boy lead society truly is and how brutal our ‘human nature’ can be.
The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy ~ If you haven’t read these, then add them to your reading list! While a high school student might grasp more of the story than a younger child, my third son read The Hobbit when he was 6 going on 7.
Summer Reading for High School Students ~ Books That Have Been Made Into Movies
Ender’s Game The first of a quintet of novels, Ender’s Game introduces readers to a future Earth where the government breeds future generations in the hopes of building a secure defense against an alien race which attacked 100 years earlier. Ender is an unusual child and is recognized as the potential savior the government has been seeking. After intense training, he is put into a simulator to come up with the best way to neutralize the alien threat. Only, what seemed like a game really isn’t and his actions take everyone by surprise.
This was on my eldest son’s reading list when he worked through Sonlight Core 100. He LOVED this book as did his younger brothers who couldn’t help but feed off his enthusiasm. We’ve seen the movie and while it was enjoyable the boys admitted that the book was better. (No great surprise there!) If you haven’t read the book or watched the Ender’s Game movie, I highly recommend it!
This dystopian series is a big hit with teens and even many adults I know. The first book, Divergent, has the following description: “One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior’s society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she’s determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.” The other titles continue the story line with Tris and seeing how choices impact your life.
My boys all loved this title and are begging me to just buy the sequels as the library has a LONG waiting list for them. Just from the commercials for the movie, the boys can see that there are some big differences. However, we are still looking forward to the Divergent film which will be released on August 5th.
The Hunger Games is another dystopian novel where the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts exists in what was previously known as North America. To keep control over its citizens, the Capitol forces each district to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
This one we did in opposite order and watched the first film before anyone had read the book. We did NOT like the movie at all and felt that it was promoting a rather sick idea of reality TV. We could NOT understand why so many homeschooling friends were raving about it. Then my eldest son read the trilogy while off at a month long program this past fall and he loved the novels. They recently watched Catching Fire and said that the movie makers stuck more to the story than they had in the original film.
While I am sure there could be a MUCH longer list if I spent more time thinking about it, that’s what came to mind in short order.
What are some titles you remember reading as a high school student?
What books are YOUR high schoolers reading this summer?
Check out what other homeschoolers are suggesting for this age group!