Book Ideas for Grade 9 and Grade 10 studentsI have just started doing some private tutoring with two students - a Grade 9 boy and a Grade 10 girl to support them in their English that they receive...

Book Ideas for Grade 9 and Grade 10 students

I have just started doing some private tutoring with two students - a Grade 9 boy and a Grade 10 girl to support them in their English that they receive from their school. I really want to study some novels and plays with them, but need to come up with a list that will compliment the standard texts that they are studying in school. Any ideas?

24 Answers

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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I find that The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is a big hit with students in early high school and middle school. Both boys and girls can relate to the rebellious characters in the story. Ponyboy's coming of age plot is a real draw for girls, while boys enjoy reading about the trouble that the gangs get themselves into. The novel also provides an opportunity for great discussions about the 1950's-60's, parenting, gangs, families, etc. I taught The Outsiders to a group of 9th and 10th grade students in summer school who boasted after the two week session that The Outsiders was the first book they actually read and enjoyed.

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kamiegoldstein | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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I teach this grade level this year. Students always like Night by Wiesel, it appeals to male and female students. It is also great for reluctant readers because it is a nonfiction piece.

Female readers love Go Ask Alice by "anonymous" as it is about a teenage girls struggle with drugs. It is compelling and thought provoking. Girl's often like Jane Eyre too. It is a classic but very approachable.

For the male student, I find the boys like novels by Walter Dean Myers. Try Monster about a boy incarcerated or Hoops about a basketball player. Finally, Fallen Angels about the Vietnam War. There are several great reads by this author.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If you're interested in doing anything with the Holocaust, I'd recommend Night, by Elie Wiesel.  It's an appropriate reading level, and I'd have no hesitations regarding content if you were working with him.  Lots of modern stuff on Elie to supplement.

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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The John Marsden series Tomorrow When the War Began would suit both students as it is a sicence fiction plot with Australia being invaded, as told by a female narrator. It may help that there is a blockbuster movie about to be released too. If you can hook them with the first book, they'll enjoy the series.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I second The House on Mango Street.  Great short stories about growing up and coming of age from a Latina's perspective.  It sounded from your post like they might be English as a Second Language students, which makes House an even better choice.

I would also recommend the Twilight series.  While the vampire fad couldn't interest me less, kids eat up the novels as they did the Harry Potter series, and as an educator, I'm in favor of anything that gets kids to read.


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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I agree with the previous post concerning Ender's Game. Your student will certainly enjoy this excellent sci-fi novel with its youthful characters. You might want to consider Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird, the story of a Jewish boy's nightmarish escape from the horrors of the Holocaust. (It has its share of violence, all right.)

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hustoncmk | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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For the girl, she might be interested in some historical fiction romance books that relate to time periods that she will be learning about in school.  Danielle Steel has actually written several good historical fiction books that I used with a 9th grade girl who was a reluctant reader.  Another series that is used less in schools in the United States that would be a great series of books for the girl would be the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It has fantastic vocabulary and I do have a 4-page set of questions, vocabulary, and an essay already written up to accompany the first book in the series.

The boy might also like some historical fiction or even nonfiction about wars and military actions.  These could supplement a textbook in history.

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whytaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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If the boy likes Sci Fi, I would also recommend Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  It has a male protagonist, in fact very few female characters, and takes place at a Battle School in space.  It has many deep themes, such as "what makes a good leader?"  Many individuals when asked about Sci Fi list this as their all time favorite novel.  I know if I could only read one book for the rest of my life, I would pick Ender's Game.

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whytaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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I enjoy The Pearl by John Steinbeck and it goes well with Julius Caesar as both books deal with a theme of greed.  Both works discuss what motivates individuals and what wealth and power can bring.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisernos is a nice multicultural piece that is easy to read and of high interest to young adults.  It is written in small vignettes that lead to amazing discussions.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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I would highly recommend The Hunger Games written by Suzanne Collins. There are other novels in the series, the most recent being Mockingjay. The novel will certainly hit on all of the things mentioned in post #3 -- it is about a dystopia future North America where a couple of select teens must participate in The Hunger Games and it is a fight to the death.  The novels are written for the young adult market and should be a great fit with your students.

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sboeman | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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I think it would depend on a few different things, such as their reading level, their interests, and any particular "unit" you'd want to focus on.  A few standby classics that students usually love are Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, which touches on many different themes; William Golding's Lord of the Flies, which touches on the good and evil tendencies of man; and Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia.

These are probably good for their age groups, unless they are stuggling with reading.  Also, I'm sure if you asked them what they like to read about-outdoors, sports, romance, etc.-we could give you more specific, age-appropriate titles.

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l1ghtdark | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Hi I would also like to recommend the Hunger Games and the House on Mango Street. Another title I like is Chandra's Wars. It is about an orphaned girl who needs to raise her family while surviving a civil war.

Also, It's Kind of a Funny Story. It talks about an adolescent who checks himself into a mental hospital because of depression. Although it touches on touchy subject matter it is written in a very upbeat, and almost comedic way.

Other titles : Animal Farm by George Orwell, And Then There Were None,

Plays: Romeo and Juliet, A midsummer's night's dream

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scarchin | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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I recommend Three Cups of Tea Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

It's very well written, interesting, and relevent to current events.


Bonus - No Cliffs Notes etc exist (yet) for it.

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