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Carly's avatar

How many works of literature should an average high school English class be expected to cover in one semester and/or one school year?

Asked by Carly (4360 points ) March 1st, 2014

I went to a pretty scrappy high school; I remember reading one novel each semester and then just a bunch of short stories or novel excerpts out of our textbook. This was from 2002–06 and I wasn’t in an honors class.

What was your experience? Was it too much or too little? Also, if you’re working in education right now, what do you think is an appropriate amount for your students?

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6 Answers

janbb's avatar

Well, hard to say since it would depend on the length and complexity of the novels but I would think about three short, fairly accessible ones a semester for a second tier class.

I was always in Honors English and can’t totally remember but I would imagine we did about 8 novels or plays a year. The Shakespeare was usually the hardest.

gailcalled's avatar

In my high school Honors English we read at least 4 novels (one of Dickens), one Shakespearean play, one other play such as “Our Town,” some short stories, some essays and some poetry.
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zenvelo's avatar

In standard English classes, when I was in high school long ago, we read a couple of longer novels and a few short stories each semester. One semester we had The Hobbit and The Once and Future King. I got in trouble because we had so long to read it I used to do math homework while everyone else was reading.

My son is a senior in high school, last semester in English he read:

Into The Wild
Brave New World
The Stranger
No Exit
Clockwork Orange

plus one outside reading book, and a few poems.

gailcalled's avatar

@zenvelo: Given the choices for great novels and plays in the American and British Lit canon, that your son would have been asked to read “L’Etranger” and “Huis Clos” in translation for an English class I find very curious.

It would be like reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” in French for French III.

talljasperman's avatar

One work of Shakespeare every year…. Othello , Macbeth, Hamlet .

Unbroken's avatar

Wow,... That is awful @Carly. I can’t remember how many we read but I always wished for.more. I read the entire text.book and then couldn’t wait for the books to be passed out… Though stienbeck and Hemingway pissed me off.

Seems to me there should be a.very basic classes and students with an aptitude for certain subjects should be able to explore their areas of.interest.

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