My son will be going into the 10th grade next year. Can any teachers suggest a summer reading list?I want him to get a head start because he really struggles with comprehension so we have to go...



My son will be going into the 10th grade next year. Can any teachers suggest a summer reading list?

I want him to get a head start because he really struggles with comprehension so we have to go over things a few times.

This year he read Farenheit 451, Of mice and men, Animal Farm, Night, and Great Expectations.

thanks in advance.

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brettd's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

I'd say he has a great start with what he's read freshman year.  It also depends what your goals are and what classes he plans to take next year as to what your next titles should be.  I would get him started with more of the traditional titles next year, since he struggles a bit as you say, so that by his junior and senior year he's ready for Shakespeare and some of the more difficult readings he'll be introduced to as an upperclassman.

Great Gatsby, The Crucible, and Lord of the Flies are good places to start with this summer.  That should prepare him well for the more traditional sophomore material his English classes will likely cover.

mwestwood's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #3)

Many teachers coordinate the novel reading assignments to the era in literature that is studied in the student's grade.  In many states, for instance, the tenth grade study is in Early American Literature.  Authors of this period include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain.

Because The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne is rated by critics as the primer for all other American novels with its use of symbolism, it is a worthwhile read.  Also, as this novel is one that needs to be read twice--once for plot, and a second time for symbolic significance and deeper meaning--it is a good choice for summer reading.  Thoreau's Walden is another work on the canon for sophomores.  And, for more enjoyment, but much significance, nevertheless,of The Adventures  Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is an American classic.  Ernest Hemingway felt that this was the first real American novel.

akannan's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #4)

Much of this answer will be dependent on what class he will be taking next year and the instructor at the school.  Before all other options, perhaps this needs to be explored.  If he is progressing into American Literature, perhaps the discussion should be on reading some of the established authors in the American Literature canon.  This would require him to read Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" or Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea."  Already familiar with Steinbeck, perhaps reading "The Pearl" or "East of Eden" might be appropriate.  Modern American writers could be included in this discourse as well such as Maya Angelou or Langston Hughes.  The works of Flannery O'Connor or, one that has been quite popular here in enotes, Kate Chopin might also be appropriate.  If you can contact the English department at his school, I am sure they can assist you in conjunction with what we have listed here.

clairewait's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #5)

What state do you live in?  I was going to say, in NC 10th grade is world literature.

I think it is a great idea to get him started on reading the books the summer before a year starts - especially if he has trouble reading books as fast as the teacher is teaching them.

In college I contacted all my professors as soon as I registered for the class and asked for their reading lists in advance so I could get a head start.

If I were you - instead of guessing and reading a list of classics you hope will help I would contact the school counselor (or whoever is in charge of class scheduling) and find out who his English teacher will be next year.  This information is usually determined at least a semester in advance.

Even if you don't know exactly who his teacher is, you could also contact any of the 10th grade English teachers and ask what one or two books does every teacher tend to teach in the 10th grade (perhaps the curriculum is set school or district wide, which will make this even easier).

I would find out EXACTLY what they are reading.  I think his reading of the books the summer before will help him understand them better when he re-reads and studies them with the class.  He'll not only get more out of the books, but he'll likely enjoy the class more as he won't be stressed about staying caught up.

amy-lepore's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #6)

Check with your son's school.  Our school posts on its website the reading list for each grade level, and also if the student is taking traditional as opposed to honors/pre-AP courses, the reading list will vary.

In my state, the 10th graders read the following during the school year:

Julius Caesar

Trifles (a play)


Animal Farm

Alas, Babylon!

Huckleberry Finn

Twelve Angry Men (a play)

various poetry

various short stories

geenna74's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #7)

Thank you all so much.

We live in California. I have contacted the school however they really have a 'wait and see' approach. Even last year I tried to have him read ahead over spring and winter breaks but the teacher would not tell us the next book. It is very frustrating especially since my son tests about 3 grade levels below where he should be in reading comp. I would think the teachers would want to help him prepare in advance...perhaps they are just leaving their options open in case they decide to go with another book.

kapokkid's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #8)

I would suggest letting him read whatever he wants to read.  The attachment of an assignment to a book or forcing someone to read a book is often counter-productive as it doesn't help them develop their natural ability to read bceause they are afraid they have to read something a certain way or understand something particular and feel frustrated or stupid if they don't.

One of the most horrible things we do is assign "grade levels" and things like it to reading.  Studies and even schools that operate this way have shown that if you never force a child to learn to read and you let them come to it on their own, they will learn to read and quickly.  And if a child learns to read when they are three and another child learns to read when they are 12 and you don't put them in modified classes and tell them they are stupid, you can't tell the difference when they are 15.

But that is easy for me to say, it isn't my child and I am not getting note from school saying they are "behind."


clairewait's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #9)

Thank you all so much.

We live in California. I have contacted the school however they really have a 'wait and see' approach. Even last year I tried to have him read ahead over spring and winter breaks but the teacher would not tell us the next book. It is very frustrating especially since my son tests about 3 grade levels below where he should be in reading comp. I would think the teachers would want to help him prepare in advance...perhaps they are just leaving their options open in case they decide to go with another book.

How frustrating.  My next approach then would be to contact some students who just finished 10th grade and ask what they read.

Teachers just don't change curriculum drastically from year to year.

Also, in reply to #8: I also agree.  The more he finds books he ENJOYS, generally the better he will become at reading.

I will say again, however, that I love to read and I'm pretty good at it - and I still struggled in college English classes to stay caught up.  I completely understand, Mom, where you are coming from and I think what you are doing is a great habit for your son to start.

amy-lepore's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #10)

In Reply to #7:

Have you considered finding the audio versions of required texts?  Like Clairewait in response 9, I too love to read.  I also felt very pressured by all the reading I had to do in my graduate versions saved me!  You can listen, rewind, pause to write down questions and notes, and then pick it up again. It's really no different from reading it if you follow along in the book while the reader reads aloud.  You see and hear the text, so you're hitting two learning styles at once and probably helping your son to internalize it.  Also, the reader models how to properly inflect voice, emotion, and fluency into reading that most who struggle with reading don't have.  The beauty of audio versions (be sure they aren't abridged if your text isn't) is that the reading takes less time than it would normally take to read.  Your son can listen to it multiple times in the span of time that the class is reading it to be sure he has comprehended the text for assessments.

There are lots of free audio versions of classics texts (novels, essays, short stories, poems, etc.) online.  Just search "free classic lit" or "free short stories" in your web browser.  Once there, look for mp3 or other audio versions that you can download on your computer, Ipod, mp3 player, etc.

Good Luck!

ktmagalia's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #11)

Now that I know that you live in California, and the titles he read as a 9th grader, it is a little easier to answer your questions as typically, here in California schools, the 10th grade year brings about the following classics:To Kill a Mockingbird, MacBeth, andJulius Ceasar.  Works such as Huck Finn, The Crucible, and The Scarlet Letter, are typical of 11th grade when students take American History as well. Of course, many schools with cover most of the curriculum with their literature anthologies, and if curriculum pacing is in place, the classes don't have much time for supplemental readings.  I think reading To Kill a Mockingbird together would be beneficial.  There is nothing better than a parent and student reading and talking about a book, and Harper Lee's novel is rich and is certainly a classic that will be read, if not this next year, sometime in his literary studies. It is definitely a book that merits discussion whether a higher level reader or a lower level reader (but most definitely with a reader who has a tendency to struggle).

lfawley's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #12)

I did a brief search and found a few sites that might help you. This site lists a 10th grade HONORS reading curriculum in California. If he gets started on that, he will be ahead of the game:

This site is a list for a specific school in California, but it also has links to other suggested material:

The most important thing for any high schooler is that he or she read voraciously! Reading builds vocabulary skills crucial for the SATs and as college preparation.

I am glad to see that you are going beyond what the school gives you!

parkerlee's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #13)

What about Lois Lowry's 'The Giver?' It appeal to young people, and the vocabulary is not too spanned, with the same high frequency words coming up again and again. It has some pretty heavy themes, though.

Another might be Goldman's 'The Princess Bride'; also, there is a film out as well. This is a light-hearted spoof if you don't want to deal with the big issues.

Another interesting book is Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.' This is a story of a boy suffering from Aspergers' Syndrome (a form of autism) who takes a train to London in search of his mother.

Another possibility is Orwell's 'Animal Farm,' which can be read as a simple child's fable or as an allegory of the rise of communism in Russia after the fall of the tzar.


gr8ious's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #14)

I too would suggest getting a reading list that is curriculum specific for the classes he will be in. My administrators require a syllabus that details what we expect to accomplish in terms of skills and class objectives. I list the books that we expect the "on grade level" students will study. If I have under grade-level readers, I get with the reading specialists, special needs teachers, etc to choose alternative reading and assignments. By the way, I learned that students who read below grade level usually need vocab help and we use not only printed versions of our novels, etc. but record them or have the students listen to them online while reading the printed versions. Studies suggest that reading will improve at a fast rate if the student hears while reading; hits more than just the visual learning style. It pays to determine your child's predominate learning style. Your counselors or others should be able to help in this area. I won't say "good luck" because I believe that all students can learn. It's work, not luck that puts them on the right track. It does take a village. Exhaust all paths, warrior, and thanks for being an involved parent.

pamla's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #15)

First of all, I would correlate the reading list with whatever history class will be taught in 10th grade.  For example, if your son will be studying world history, it could be helpful for him to read classic world literature pieces.  It would help him learn more about what he will be learning in history and the culture of the places he will be studying.

In addition, I would use books that would inspire him as he grows as a person.  I find some biographies to be a wonderful tool for that.  I would also add a science fiction or fantasy book or two, just to inspire him and help him grow creatively.  I would also give him some choices on the list and wrote some into my list for you.

Keeping that in mind, here is my literature list for those studying world history and literature in 10th grade.  I would recommend having him choose 4 to 6 books from this list.

Be sure to discuss each one with him.  If you need a synposis of these books for yourself to prepare yourself to discuss them with him, I would recommend

Here's my list:


Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott

Around the World in 80 Days - Jules Verne

The Hiding Place-Corrie ten Boom or The Diary of Anne Frank-Anne Frank

War of the Worlds or the Time Machine (his choice) by H.G. Wells

Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe or Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift

The Once and Future King - T. H. White

Exodus - Leon Uris

Cry the Beloved Country - Alan Paton


Hope this is helpful.


jgarrett1967's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #16)

I would suggest Beowulf, The Merchant of Venice, Pilgrims Progress, Don Quixote, Pathfinder, The Brothers Karamazov, Silas Marner, A Lesson Before Dying, Faust, The House of Seven Gables, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Call of the Wild, Wise Blood, Dr. Zhivago, Cry the Beloved Country, Ceremony, Losing Battles, or The Once and Future King.

scbannerman's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #17)

Are you wanting him to read in advance what he's going to be reading in the upcoming semester? If you just want him to read so that he will maintain momentum through the summer, and not necessarily read what he will be assigned in the tenth grade, then I would recommend Mark Twain (either one of his novels or some of his short stories), any fiction by C.S. Lewis, The Hobbit by Tolkien, or (if he has enough time) Robinson Crusoe by Defoe. If he enjoys mysteries, I'd also recommend any of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Most of his stories are fairly short, so he could get in a couple before school starts.

udonbutterfly's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #18)

Most school curriculums go by the College Boards SAT recommended reading list (which I have put in the reference link) .

Some of that were apart of my curriculum in the 10th grade would be:

Julius Caesar

The Great Gatsby

Scarlett letter

However there is no harm in asking his teacher for next year what books will they read for the next school year or you son can ask former students since a lot of teachers tend to repeat books read in class. Many teacher encourage reading material for the class over the summer so I'm pretty sure there won't be a problem!

zumba96's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #19)

I am not a teacher but I feel as if I may be able to contribute to this conversation in some way. From 10th grade to now my teachers have usually involved items such as those found on the SAT College Board list. In AP Lit we read Hamlet, Death of a Salesman, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Heart of Darkness, Sula, and Frankenstein, which are some we have read so far. From all of these book we have learned a lot and are able to do proper analysis as well. I hope this helps!

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