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by Ashley Ring
I have a bachelors degree in English and I am currently working on my masters degree. I am a private school teacher, and...


 

Reading remains to be one of the most important tools that we introduce to our children at a young age. Books teach us important parts of history that must not be repeated. From the very start of our children’s lives they are exposed to language, grammar, and syntax, they help them to meet their immediate needs. These can be as simple as expressing that they are feeling sick, or that they are hungry. These all require a set of words that they are taught, in order to express their wants and needs.

Communication is a huge part of any individual’s growth and has been the main reason that civilization has made it this far. Learning to read a variety of books opens children up to a world of knowledge and possibilities. Books also help to encourage imagination which helps with creativity.

 

The Three R’s Relevance, Relation, and Roles

 As a high school teacher every year, I have my students do a project in which they choose a book from literature that has stood the test of time. And what that means is that books that are still readily available to read and to be taught from fifty to hundreds of years earlier, while explaining why they are still taught today. One book that almost always comes up every year is “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Many students agree that this book stands the test of time because it is a history that should be known so it could never be repeated. They felt the power in the context from a 13-year-old girl that they could relate to based on age. Many revealed that it is important to notice the events that took place leading up to this horrific massacre, but it also lit the fire in them to read more books alike and learn more and more about heroic individuals that experienced such events in history.

Another book on the top five list is “The Great Gatsby.” This book is a great one to teach because the “American Dream” is still very much alive, and many struggle to achieve this idea of what the American dream is. So, if your teaching a unit on symbolism, prohibition, or analyzing the American dream material values then this is a great book to teach. Tying into this same idea, “Death of a salesman,” is another great book that shows the struggle in living the American Dream. It introduces gender roles during the time and shows the amount of pressure that can be put on the bread winner of the family. Both show the not so pretty depths that money can take us to.

The fourth book worth mentioning is “The crucible.” This book reminds young teens that are struggling with judgement, to see what can happen when rumors are spread. This book gives students a lens into how society was operated long ago and how certain characteristics have evolved, and are used to terrorize individuals in different ways. These are all very relatable topics that bring up some great one on one discussions.

The last book is Romeo and Juliet. Although it’s hard to pick just one of Shakespeare’s famous plays, this one shows the rivalry between two families and a love that stands in between them. Written hundreds of years ago, it is still very relevant to what teenagers are experiencing when it comes to disagreeing with their parents, and how deceit can turn into something much more unforgiving, like death. This play has been made into movies and many different texts, but it will forever stand the test of time because of the morals and lessons that are taught in this play. Shakespeare is always worth reading and he tends to not sugar coat anything.  Teaching Shakespeare give students another type of literature to adapt and relate to. If students like this style of writing they have plenty of other books that can introduce them to a whole new world of poetry. This will make lesson plans surrounding poetry and analysis fun and enlightening. So, if you’re feeling hopeless on finding a book that your student will read from start to finish check out the books listed above, or even the authors. Share the knowledge! 

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