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?

Expert Answers
sboeman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The House of the Scorpion is also an excellent choice for sci-fi/dystopian lovers, as is Fahrenheit 451. Kurt Vonnegut has several short stories that may fit this too, including "Harrison Bergeron". Cat's Cradle or Player Piano would also be appropriate, although the language may be difficult if the student needs extra support. I second The House on Mango Street, and also think Victor Villasenor's Rain of Gold would be captivating for someone who enjoys love stories.

hustoncmk eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

kamiegoldstein eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

howesk eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.


whytaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

whytaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.)

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thanks for this - I know that the boy likes sci-fi, dystopias and books with violence in them and the girl likes love stories. The boy loved studying Lord of the Flies and the girl really enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird, which they studied in school.

l1ghtdark | Student

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

scarchin | Student

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.

pdeol08 | Student

10th grader

To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper Lee

Lord of the Flies-William Gordon

A Midsummers Night Dream-William Shakespeare

9th grader

Of Mice and Men-John Steinbeck

Romeo and Juliet-William Shakespeare


p.s. this is what i read in 9th and 10th grade :)

hiphopdancert | Student

I am a 9th grader and we have recently read Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This book is not short but not long, it captivates your interest and won't leave you bored.

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate. This far from civilization they can do anything they want. Anything.

But as order collapses, as strange as howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hopes of an adventure seems as far removed from reality as the hope of being rescued...

alysen31 | Student

To Kill A Mockingbird

The Time Traveller's Wife

A Wizard Of Earthsea

Lord Of The Rings

Lord Of The Flies

kim-c | Student

When I was in year 9, we had to do S.E. Hinton's 'The Outsiders' for English and Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird' for SOSE.

'The Outsiders' was good, as the text was really easy to understand and it also has a film to go with it. After reading the book as a whole class together, we watched the film and then we had to look at the similarities and differences between the novel and the film. Also, we had assessment work to do with certain issues in society and how it all relates to 'The Outsiders.'

We also had to choose a character that isn't explained much in the story, for example, the school teacher (which I did) and we had to do an oral telling the class our story on how it led to a particular event in the book that had some gaps, so basically, every one of us had different stories and I remember someone in my class telling a VERY funny story because he wasn't prepared so he did it on the spot!!! That had to be one of the classic orals that I've ever witnessed.

'To Kill A Mockingbird' is also considered to be a great all-time classic but we did it for SOSE. We didn't read the book and we only watched the film though. Three years later, to this day, 'The Outsiders' is still studied by the year 9's at our school but the year 10's are reading 'Tomorrow When The War Began.' When I was in year 10, the top English class had to read and watch 'The Da Vinci Code,' (maybe too hard) as English and Religion are merged into one subject once in year 10.

mrsvladimirova | Student

If these students are struggling and require tutoring, be sure to spend your time teaching them vocabulary and reading expository text. State mandated testing requires that they know how to analyze expository texts more often than literature. Some suggestions to begin with: read the newspaper together, focus on the opinion and editorial pages, analyze the persuasive techniques used in advertisements, study the loaded language in opinion features. Increasing their content vocabulary and academic vocabulary will increase their comprehension and academic success in all areas at school.

I have found that reading novels chosen by the students creates intrinsic motivation to engage with the literature. Their teachers choose the novels they read at school, why not allow them to choose the novels they read with you, from a preapproved list such as the Top 100 Books all High School Students should Read before Graduating?

melvin900 | Student

When you sit down to write each day, facing the great blank page, forget about writing a book. Just think about writing one great chapter. Or one great scene. Then the next, and the next, and the next. They’ll pile up, and pretty soon, you’ll have a book. But you have to stick to it.

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jacobjinglheimer | Student

For the boy I would recommend, Brave New World, Little Brother, Being and Epic. I personally thought that they were amazing books, Epic is a dystopian sci fi. Little Brother and Being are more action thrillers, both have some adult content so you might want to read them first.

arioux | Student

My answer here would depend on what, exactly, you were doing with the students.

Saying that you wish to support them in "their English that they receive from their school" sounds like they're English Language Learners (ELL). Do these students have any special needs that should be addressed - possibly (partially) through the texts read? Are they fluent readers? Are you tutoring them separately or together?

If they are fluent, have no special needs, and you are working with them together, I'd suggest finding out what they'll be reading in class - including in 11th & 12th grade. You don't want to overlap. Choose works that merge with the overall themes of the year in order to help reinforce what they're learning in the classroom.

If they need extra help in certain areas, there are many ways to handle this. There are lots of great resources out there for ELL students (the school should help with this). Readers lacking fluency can be aided by the three of you reading aloud - your modeling of correct tone, speed, and (what to do about punctuation) can be great. Readers needing help with comprehension might be assisted by graphic novels.

I'm interested to hear how you've assessed their needs and how you go about this project.

lhfscarlet | Student

Having read most of Shakespeare's novels by 10th grade, I'd reccomend at least one. I second the Twilight series (for the girl), knowing that it is extremely well written. It is very descriptive also. For the boy, I suggest anything by the author David Clement-Davies. His books are extremely good, and those who like sci-fi, usually love them. I've read Fire Bringer, The Sight, and Telling Pool, and am trying to get my hands on his book Fell. His writing is very good, and he uses lots of foreshadowing techniques.