Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pursuit & Pleasure of Reading for High School

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter--May 2007

The Pursuit and Pleasure of Reading

Dear Friends,

Can you believe it's May? With the end of your school year fast
approaching, why not plan a fun surprise activity with your teen this
month? Maybe something as simple as surprising him or her with a day
off from school! While your teen is enjoying the day off, print out
this email, take it with you to the local coffee shop, and sip a latte
or double chai, letting out a long sigh, and saying a prayer asking
the Lord to help you finish out the year with grace and strength.

Since summer is just around the corner, this may be a good time to
plan and promote a "summer reading program" for your teens. You might
even offer an incentive to your children to read a variety of good
books throughout the summer. So, this month we'd like to focus on
reading suggestions for your teens and give you some ideas for
increasing your teens' desire to read.


Every high school academic program should include four years of
English, and a component of that English course should include reading
good literature. For help in teaching your teen to analyze literature
and dig a bit deeper into literary techniques such as foreshadowing,
mood, character development, and so forth, consider using prepared
study guides such as those offered by Progeny Press
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4050 or Total Language Plus
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4051 . Both of these publishers
offer a good variety of novels and study guides for the high school

Do keep records of the books your children read for these academic
courses. They may come in handy should you be asked to detail what
those English courses covered.


Mark Twain once said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no
advantage over the man who can't read them." So, in addition to the
books your teen reads for his academic English course, encourage him
to read for pleasure. Pleasure reading should be just what the name
implies--reading for joy, delight, and personal satisfaction--no
assignment, no deadline, no questions to complete for discussion. Your
goal is to persuade your child to see books as friends. It's not that
pleasure reading can't be educational, but removing the pressure of
"having to learn" from a book will allow your teen to simply enjoy the
time spent reading.
Plan to incorporate into your school day a 30-minute or so reading
time where you and all the children retreat to quiet individual places
to enjoy reading while munching a light snack before hitting the
school books again. Or consider choosing an exciting book on tape to
play only while the family is eating lunch or dinner together--beware,
though, they may begin to eat VERY slowly!

Why not start a list of book suggestions for your teen and have him
check off the books he reads during the high school years? Some
colleges, including Patrick Henry College, require that students
applying for admission submit their high school reading list. Here are
some resources that will give you many suggestions for books to place
on your list. Divide up the list into categories (missionary
biographies, historical novels, personal interest books, etc.) and ask
your teen to vary his reading selections by choosing books from as
many different categories as he can.

We preface these reading lists by remembering Paxton Hood's excellent
advice: "Be as careful of the books you read, as the company you keep;
for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former
as by the latter."

Read for Your Life by Gladys Hunt

Great Books of the Christian Tradition by Terry Glaspey

Invitation to the Classics by Louise Cowan and Os Guinness

Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature by Gene
Edward Veith

Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children's Literature by
Elizabeth Laraway Wilson and Susan Schaeffer McCauley

College Board's 101 Great Books Recommended for College Bound Readers

Center for Applied Research in Education

These two reference books also contain suggested reading lists for

The High School Handbook by Mary Schoefield

Homeschooling High School: Planning Ahead for College Admission


Some of you may have one child who is a voracious reader--she may wear
out her library card before too long!--and another child who not only
does not like to read, but actually sees reading as a form of
punishment! Same parents, same genetic heredity, same trips to the
library each week, same "I read aloud to both of them," and yet they
have very different reading appetites. God has certainly made each one
of us unique, hasn't He? Here are some ideas to help you motivate
your reluctant reader:

* Biographies are a good place to start--reading about the lives of
individuals with both their struggles and accomplishments is something
we can easily relate to.

* Find an area of interest and take a minute to research books on the
topic. Categories might include: particular authors, science
fiction/fantasy, adventure stories, mysteries, the classics, settings
in specific geographical areas, sports, historical fiction and many,
many more.

* Books on tape are a great way to introduce a new author and perhaps
entice an unmotivated reader. Public libraries usually have a wide
assortment of books on tape.

* Take it in small chunks--perhaps ask your teen to read for 10 or 15
minutes as you prepare his breakfast or lunch each day; or while you
are cooking, ironing, folding laundry, have her read out loud to you
so you both can enjoy the story.

* Reading aloud to your children (yes, even your teens) will not only
bring you all together for a time, but also train their listening
skills. Be sure to keep their attention by reading with expression.

Don't be discouraged if your child is not a reader--he or she may just
need time. Neither of our husbands frequented books as youngsters, but
now as adults, they both name reading as their favorite pastime and
enjoy their children surprising them with gift certificates from a
bookstore. Also, we both have sons who choked on books in high school,
but one of us is happy to report that a book actually made last
Christmas' wish list! Miracles do happen!

We hope your teen catches the excitement of expanding his or her
reading interests and exploring new people, places, and ideas through

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