EDSITEment's Recommended Reading List for College-Bound Students
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. –Sir Francis Bacon English author, courtier, & philosopher (1561-1626)
Let us secure not such books as people want, but books just above their wants, and they will reach up to take what is put out for them. –Maria Mitchell, first American woman to work as a professionalastronomer (1818-1889)
Lesson: Introducing Jane Eyre: An Unlikely Victorian Heroine Through the following activities, students will learn the expectations and limitations placed on Victorian women, then contemplate Brontë's position and rationale for publishing this novel under a pseudonym.
Cather, Willa: Death Comes for the Archbishop
Lesson: Pioneer Values in Willa Cather's My ántonia Combining the study of history and literature, the goal of this lesson is to guide students in a self-directed exploration of how Cather's novel interprets and represents the values associated with pioneer life of fortitude, hard work, and faithfulness.
3-Lesson Curriculum Unit: Kate Chopin's The Awakening Students explore how Chopin stages the possible roles for women in time and culture in the novella as well as exploring the author’s life, culture, and literary traditions.
Lesson: The Red Badge of Courage: A New Kind of Realism Instead of memorializing battle that had come to seem increasingly artificial and unreal, this lesson increases students' understanding of Crane's influences and how the novel's style helped convey a new realism.
Website: Aprende y Diviértete con Don Quijote Spain’s Ministry of Education website introduces students to Cervantes and his novel to Spanish language students through engaging interactive activities (proverbs and vocabulary exercises for all proficiency levels).
Lesson: The "Secret Society" and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby Students explore the nature of the "secret society" implied in this novel through a close study of the text of The Great Gatsby, an examination of Fitzgerald's letters and other statements, and a consideration of class, wealth, and status during the turbulent 1920s.
Lesson: "Three Shots": Ernest Hemingway's Nick Adams In this lesson, students investigate Hemingway’s unique prose style as they study issues related to independence and notions of manliness as they conduct in-depth literary character analysis of this short story.
Lesson: Jack London's The Call of the Wild This lesson asks students to explore London’s intention in writing this novel and to consider how well the author succeeds in telling a story from the point of view of an animal.
Marquez, Gabriel García: One Hundred Years of Solitude
Website: EspañOlé offers students hundreds of resources for the teaching and study of Spanish language and literature, including the Centro Virtual Cervantes, which features an excellent portal on Gabriel García Márquez.
Melville, Herman: Bartleby the Scrivener and Moby Dick
Website: PBS'sInto the Deep: America, Whaling & the World This site covers the history of the American whaling industry from its 17th-century origins through the golden age of deep ocean whaling, as well as the life of Herman Melville, examining many inherently American themes evident in his writing.
Lesson: Dust Bowl Days This lesson introduces the 1930s to today's students through primary source accounts, images of people who lived through the Depression, and artists such as Steinbeck and Lange, who embedded this era in the American consciousness.
Website: Uncle Tom’s Cabin & American Culture This website from the University of Virginia presents a vast multimedia archive of primary material covering the years 1830–1930, organized around Harriet Beecher Stowe's seminal work.
Lesson: Hamlet Meets Chushingura: Traditions of the Revenge Tragedy This lesson sensitizes students to the similarities and differences between cultures by comparing Hamlet and Bunraku/Kabuki dramas in order to explore the complex nature of revenge in Shakespearean dramaand the Tokuhawa ethical code.
Feature: Sophocles, Socrates, and the Greek Polis This feature provide students with resources to grasp the significance of the Greek polis or "city-state" of Athens, the locus of such great artists and thinkers as the dramatist Sophocles and the philosopher Socrates.
Lesson: The Beauty of Anglo-Saxon Poetry: A Prelude to Beowulf In this introduction to Old English literature, students become acquainted with Anglo-Saxon literature and literary techniques, thus preparing them to read Beowulf with an appreciation for its artistry and beauty.
Lesson: Chaucer's Wife of Bath This lesson helps students understand the complexities of the Wife of Bath's character and the rhetoric of her argument by exploring the various ways in which Chaucer crafts a persona for her.
Douglass, Frederick: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
3 Lesson Curriculum Unit:From Courage to Freedom: Frederick Douglass's 1845 Autobiography This lesson has students read Douglass's narrative to analyze his vivid first-hand accounts of the lives of slaves and the behavior of slave owners. Students also identify and discuss Douglass's acts of physical and intellectual courage on his journey towards freedom.
Lesson: Black Separatism or the Beloved Community? Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. In this lesson, students will examine whether the separate black nation proposed by Malcolm X was a better or nobler goal than "the beloved community" of Martin Luther King, Jr., and what Americans would need to believe, and how would they need to act, in order to achieve Malcolm X's as opposed to King's goal.
Lesson: The Federalist Defense of Diversity and the Extended Republic As Americans considered whether to adopt the Constitution proposed by the Convention in 1787, one of the central issues had to do with the proper size of the nascent republic. Anti-federalists argued against a large republic. The task of refuting the anti-federalist argument against a large and defending the proposed Constitution fell mainly to Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, writing as Publius, in The Federalist papers.
Lesson: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nonviolent Resistance In this lesson, students investigate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s concept of nonviolent resistance and the role of civil disobedience within it from several angles including the Alabama clergymen who rejected King's intervention in Birmingham's racial conflicts in 1963, and the president of the National Baptist Convention, Joseph H. Jackson, who thought King's protest methods were unproductive. Students will evaluate the merits of these arguments and decide which view could best secure civil rights for black Americans.
Lesson: JFK, Freedom Rides, and Civil Rights Movement This lesson examines the critical role of Freedom Riders and other grass roots activists in pushing the Kennedy Administration to face the contradiction between its ideals and the realities of federal politics.
Lesson: Common Sense: The Rhetoric of Popular Democracy This lesson looks at Thomas Paine and at some of the ideas presented in Common Sense, such as national unity, natural rights, the illegitimacy of the monarchy and of hereditary aristocracy, and the necessity for independence and the revolutionary struggle.
Lesson: Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales The colorful characters, strong emotions, and engaging language of Andersen's tales offer rich imaginative experiences for students, as well as opportunities to analyze deep cultural themes and ideas.
Hamilton, Edith: Greek Mythology
Lesson: It Came From Greek Mythology! Greek mythology offers inspiration for many works of art (both written and visual), insight into the human condition, a glimpse at an ancient people trying to make sense of phenomena they could not explain, and the source for many names and terms we use today.
Malory, Sir Thomas: Le Morte d’Arthur
Lesson: Exploring Arthurian Legend This lesson explores the growth and transformations of the stories surrounding King Arthur, beginning with the period when we first become aware of them as part of the oral tradition in medieval Europe and follows them as they develop to become important literary works such as Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur.
Launch Pad: Exploring Arthurian Legend Trace the elements of myth and history in the world of the Round Table.
Lesson: Tales of King Arthur The stories of King Arthur and his Court have entertained young and old alike for over a thousand years. In this lesson, students will discover how historical events gradually merged with fantasy to create the colorful tales we enjoy today.