Classic Reading for High School Students: Why It’s Important and What to Read
As high school students prepare for college and beyond, reading classic literature can prove a valuable and rewarding experience. Classic novels, plays, and poems offer insights into history, society, human emotions, and relationships, all while improving reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. But with so many books out there, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. Here are some classic reading recommendations for high school students.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
First published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird has become a beloved classic and a required read for many high school students. The novel is set in the southern United States during the Great Depression, and tells the story of Scout Finch, her brother Jem, and their father Atticus, a lawyer defending a black man wrongly accused of a crime. Through their eyes, readers experience themes of race, justice, and prejudice that still resonate today.
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye is a coming-of-age novel published in 1951, and has captured the attention of generations of readers since. The novel follows the teenager Holden Caulfield as he navigates the complexities of growing up, feeling disillusioned by the adult world and struggling with his own identity. The language is witty and engaging, and the themes of alienation, adolescence, and individuality still resonate for young readers today.
3. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Lord of the Flies is a novel published in 1954, and has been a staple of high school literature classes ever since. The novel follows a group of young boys stranded on a deserted island, who must learn to survive and govern themselves in the absence of adults. Through their experiences, the novel explores the nature of human behavior, violence, and power dynamics, and raises important questions about the fragility of civilization.
4. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
One of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Romeo and Juliet has been performed countless times and adapted for film, television, and stage productions. The play tells the story of two young lovers from feuding families, and the tragic consequences of their forbidden romance. The language is beautiful and poetic, and the themes of love, loyalty, and family honor still resonate with readers today.
5. 1984 by George Orwell
First published in 1949, 1984 is a dystopian novel that envisions a future society dominated by government surveillance and control. The novel follows Winston Smith, a low-ranking member of the ruling party, as he rebels against the oppressive regime and falls in love with a fellow dissenter. The novel raises important questions about the nature of freedom, truth, and the power of language, and remains a powerful cautionary tale for readers of all ages.
These are just a small selection of classic novels, plays, and poems that high school students can read to improve their literary skills, and gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. By reading these works, high school students can gain insights into history, society, and human nature, and develop the critical thinking and analytical skills necessary for success in college and beyond.