books for high-school boys - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 08-06-2008, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking for ideas for independent reading books for my high school students, particularly boys who are reluctant readers. (One of my classes this year will have 25 boys!!!!! --and five girls.)

I've already discovered that Louis L'amour is a huge hit with this particular demographic, but I'm looking for other authors/titles. Thanks!!

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#2 of 9 Old 08-07-2008, 06:35 PM
 
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The Outsiders by SE Hinton was one my teenaged sons enjoyed


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#3 of 9 Old 08-08-2008, 01:17 AM
 
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Lord of the Flies
Bean Trees (I have had a LOT of boys talk about this book SEMESTERS after we read it- but it really surprised me).
Frederick Douglass
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Call of the Wild
White Fang
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (for tinkerers)
Eye of the World? Maybe?
Chuck Yeager's autobiography
Eldest
CS Lewis anything..
Hobbit
I, Robot
Dune
Sphere
2001 a Space Odyssey

Three Investigators series too young?

I would also try some sports autobiographies, but it is not my genre- I am sure someone would read Michael Jordan's book, though if you had it.. Something about Babe Ruth or Tiger Woods?
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#4 of 9 Old 08-08-2008, 10:12 AM
 
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Gary Paulsen - very easy reading, but good themes. I taught The Island as part of a YA Lit class for seniors and it got a good response. I also used Brian's Winter for a winter survival thematic unit, with "To Build a Fire" and an excerpt from Into Thin Air - this was for 9th graders.

Chris Crutcher - also for the YA elective - short stories (some have a lot of "bad language" in them and "adult themes" but like I said, they were seniors, and I was willing to risk it for engagement and real discussions/critical thinking) as well as Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, which really got the kids talking.

Also, "The Monkey's Paw" - short story - http://www.americanliterature.com/Ja...onkeysPaw.html or "The Most Dangerous Game" short story.

As part of the YA Lit elective I also did As You Come Softly, by Jacqueline Woodson - a lot of talk about race with this one. Paired it with a movie, Finding Forrester.

I taught HS English for two years before my kids were born and have TONS of stuff - email me if you want more details, I'm happy to share!

ETA: Also, The House on Mango Street - that was with 9th graders. Appealing to both boys and girls.

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#5 of 9 Old 08-08-2008, 09:06 PM
 
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I liked a lot of books christinabybaby mentioned as a teen (though I was a girl), loved Staying fat for sarah byrnes
I was also going to suggest Into Thin Air and Into the Wild both by Jon Krakaur. I think they might be appreciated by more outdoorsy boys though, so depends where you live etc.
I think a lot of books written even 20 years ago and certainly in the 70s and back can be a little hard to get into for reluctant teen readers. My mom is a children's librarian and she claims there are tons of great current y/a books and gets fed up with the usual "lord of the flies" and Robert Cormier standards.

The July issue of "the Sun" (the essay magazine) had several great essays which I think teen boys would like.
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#6 of 9 Old 08-08-2008, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all!

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#7 of 9 Old 08-08-2008, 10:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by plantmama View Post
I liked a lot of books christinabybaby mentioned as a teen (though I was a girl), loved Staying fat for sarah byrnes
I was also going to suggest Into Thin Air and Into the Wild both by Jon Krakaur. I think they might be appreciated by more outdoorsy boys though, so depends where you live etc.
I think a lot of books written even 20 years ago and certainly in the 70s and back can be a little hard to get into for reluctant teen readers. My mom is a children's librarian and she claims there are tons of great current y/a books and gets fed up with the usual "lord of the flies" and Robert Cormier standards.

The July issue of "the Sun" (the essay magazine) had several great essays which I think teen boys would like.
I think it is important to offer a mix of the two- modern and classic.. I have lots of reluctant readers, and Frederick Douglass is a constant favorite (especially when Mr. Covey gets knocked to shreds). It is precivil war material. If I only offered modern books, my students would never get accustomed to reading classics. And that is what I think separates teachers from librarians for the most part.. Librarians are looking for readers to enjoy reading in the hopes they will ask questions and pick up a second book, I on the other hand, am reading in the hopes of education with book one, and if they enjoy it all the better, but certainly is not my primary goal. Also, I think OP was going to put these books in her classroom. Depending on the school, it can sometimes be ill advised to put a book in a classroom that is not already on the approved curriculum list. A teacher recently got in big trouble for having her students read "Freedom Writers." Sure, it is interesting, and it certainly is modern, but I wouldn't put it in my classroom unless I was sure I could have a student read it. Having it available in your room for readers gives an implicit permission to read it , kwim? The same holds true for other classics that have censured over the years, though as well, The Bible, To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn...

I read once about a famous librarian (I don't remember her name, just thought it was funny when I found a librarian action figure) who had a quote about people having the right to put down a book and not finish it. Now see, that is not a right I would want my English students to exercise frequently.

Here's a modern one for you- Kids From Nowhere..

By the way, if anyone chooses to teach the books Into Thin Air or Into the Wild there are some interesting articles about people attempting to retrace the steps and almost risking their own lives in the process. It has people kind of up in arms in certain remote towns, since it costs state dollars to helicopter people out of their own ill-advised life threatening situations- and usually these people are NOT state residents..

Here's the basic premise- if you read a book where someone's life is in danger because they are ill prepared, DO NOT go to that same place, similarly ill prepared to see what happens.:
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#8 of 9 Old 08-09-2008, 01:18 PM
 
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Here's the basic premise- if you read a book where someone's life is in danger because they are ill prepared, DO NOT go to that same place, similarly ill prepared to see what happens.

Haha, very true. I never thought about those books being so "dangerous".
Also I love classics in general and find it depressing when they aren't enjoyed by more people However I hate Robert Cormier and "the Lord of the Flies and as a huge reader found them hard to get through...in fact I never finished "the chocolate war". (I was a girl though, perhaps the difference) I would switch up those sorts of books with more modern counterparts if I found my students unable to get through them. And perhaps stick with short stories to get in some older literature.
It's impossible to say what will speak to different individuals though.
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#9 of 9 Old 08-09-2008, 08:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by plantmama View Post
Also I love classics in general and find it depressing when they aren't enjoyed by more people However I hate Robert Cormier and "the Lord of the Flies and as a huge reader found them hard to get through...in fact I never finished "the chocolate war". (I was a girl though, perhaps the difference) I would switch up those sorts of books with more modern counterparts if I found my students unable to get through them. And perhaps stick with short stories to get in some older literature.
It's impossible to say what will speak to different individuals though.
I actually had a tough time getting through Lord of the Flies the first time (several times actually- I would start, and put it down, and restart, etc..) but the boys in my class liked it- especially after the parachute guy section- after that section it was easy breazy...

OTOH, I read Chocolate Wars in 8th grade (or so) by myself and loved it- and I'm a girlygirl..

Also read Blue Sword by Robin McKinley in 8th grade.. It was slow going at first, I picked it out, and the teacher was reading it aloud.. I was bored to tears during the whole monotonous deserty scenes.. then the class took a vote about whether to stop reading it, and surprisingly I was the only one that voted to switch books. The boys got into it, so who knows?

How about Hiero's Journey? by Sterling Lanier? If I remember right, the first one is pretty clean, but then the second book (Unforsaken Heiro) he meets up with a girl, and well.. there's a scene that I don't think I would push any young boys into reading, iykwim..

I loved the part about the MORSE. (he he)
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