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5 books for male, high school "hate-to-reader"


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I would like your top 5 MUST READS for a low-average student who absolutely hates reading.

 

And to make it extra tough:

 

Family is pretty conservative and wants no extreme violence, magic, military, spiritism, or christian themes.

 

Every list I look at for high schoolers pretty much seems too high of a level for this student and/or has issues with the content.

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I think the way to go for someone who does not care for reading is to pick and choose from an anthology so he's reading a good survey of excerpts from major authors. That way he's got exposure to at least some of the greats in literature. He can always come back later if he ever changes his mind about reading the whole works, but he'll at least have the cultural frame of reference necessary for a good education. For American Lit I'd go with short stories and short poems by famous authors.

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Audio books are a great way to introduce reluctant low level reders to higher level literature.

 

What about Shelock Holmes? Even my non-reader ds enjoyed Hound of the Basekervilles when he was about 13. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote some other adventures, such as The Lost World (finding dinosaurs in South America).

 

Kim by Rudyard Kipling would be another book to listen to, not read as the language might be hard to get past in print. It is a grand adventure.

 

What is this young man interested in? There are always lots of biographies in the childrens or young adult sections that might appeal to him, on people such as astronauts, scientists, or sports figures.

 

October Sky was a movie made from Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam. It is a memoir that reads like a novel about a rocket scientist who grew up in a coal mining town. It starts with Sputnik.

 

Is sci-fi out of the question? Robert Heinlein wrote a series of books for boys, such as Have Spacesuit will Travel, The Rolling Stones and Citizen of the Galaxy. They are really good, and as they were written in the 50s are fairly G rated.

 

This suggestion may seem off the wall, but these are fun books. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik is a mix of genres that works, is interesting, and maybe PG rated. It is historical fiction, set in England during the Napoleonic Wars, but with a twist. There are dragons in this world, dragons who form an aerial corp and are part of the war effort. There are 5 or 6 in the series now.

 

But all in all, I think a combination of action adventure and biographies might be a great place to start.

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When I taught school, my non-reading guys always liked these young adult selections: The Outsiders, A Day No Pigs Would Die (language is a little strong--but ok for HS), The Pigman, That Was Then This is Now. If you are looking for more meat: Animal Farm is an easy (and interesting) read if your ds likes history--Neil Simon plays are often enjoyable (Lost in Yonkers is a good one for guys); Art Spiegleman won a Pulitzer for his graphic novels about his father's experience in the Holocaust--Maus I and II (fascinating read--you can send me a pm, and I will tell you about them in more detail, but I will tell you that ALL of my students loved these); believe it or not, Lonesome Dove was a HUGE hit--your ds may have to get over the intimidation of the size of it, but it's a great guy story; some others to consider are: 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Lord of the Flies. If you want to tackle Shakespeare, start with Julius Caesar--the Folger edition has easy-to-follow notes.

:)

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I loved Into Thin Air, but he drops the F-bomb a lot. We read this with our 8th grade boys and I cringed when I saw that. My boys didn't actually notice because they said it fit the situation. This sort of surprised me because they do not hear that kind of language in everyday life.

 

ETA: Oh, and if you do read it, do not do so in the middle of winter. You may never be warm again:).

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Up From Slavery - Booker T. Washington (everyone should read this one)

Gifted Hands & Think Big - Ben Carson

The Wind in the Willows (complex sentence structure and strong vocabulary even though it is a children's book)

James Herriot - All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise & Wonderful

Robin Hood - Howard Pyle

The Yearling - Marjoie Kinnan Rawlings

The Swiss Family Robinson

Hans Brinker

Little Women, Little Men & Jo's Boys

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Jungle Book & The Second Jungle Book

The Adventures of Pinnocchio

Just So Stories

Having Our Say - Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany

The Pathfinder

The Prince and the Pauper

Tom Sawyer

Treasure Island

Lessons from a Sheepdog - Phillip Keilor

 

Our guys read these books and some other out-of-print series books when they came home from p.s. This list helped them bridge from the light fare they had in school to books with more depth and complexity.

 

 

Bonita

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I would like your top 5 MUST READS for a low-average student who absolutely hates reading.

 

And to make it extra tough:

 

Family is pretty conservative and wants no extreme violence, magic, military, spiritism, or christian themes.

 

Every list I look at for high schoolers pretty much seems too high of a level for this student and/or has issues with the content.

 

Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)...Hemingway is a very easy read and OMaTS is a very short read, but with a great deal of meaning in it...

 

I would go opposite and recommend White Fang by Jack London...he may identify with the protagonist..

 

The Scarlet Pimpernel...easy!!! but tricky..

 

The last "The Sword in the Stone" White....

 

Enjoy!

Tara

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