National Reading Month: Must-Teach Novels

March is National Reading Month.

As we reflected on the best discussions, the most impact, the best ways to celebrate. . . we both came up with ridiculously long lists.

We joke, but only because literature is so important that we can’t narrow down important stories. When we developed this list, we considered writing about plays. (Lauralee: A Raisin in the Sun, Melissa: Macbeth.)

We considered writing about memoirs. (Lauralee: The Color of Water, Melissa: The Glass Castle.)

Then we considered writing about books people have never heard about. (Lauralee: Slaughterhouse Five, Melissa: Unbroken.)

Finally, we decided to write about novels that increase class discussion, that require insight into our culture, and that can speak on different levels to different students. Here are our must-teach novels.

Melissa’s Books

Lord of the Flies, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Odyssey: A Graphic Novel succeed in Melissa’s classroom.

She brings in informational texts to pair with the novels, and she also pairs the books with movies. She even has STEM activities that engage reluctant readers.

No matter what is happening in our world, Melissa can connect the ideas to modern students.

Lauralee’s List

Animal Farm, Night, and A Separate Peace all have ideas that spread into today’s culture and climate.

Politics, brainwashing, PTSD, mental health, fake news, inhumane treatment of each other: Those ideas are shaping our students’ lives continually. Informational texts pair unbelievably well with them.

Those three novels also bring students to tears. They see the themes play out in current events.

What must-teach novels will you celebrate during National Reading Month?

Do you teach any of these novels? What books do you pair with them?

We also wrote about whole-class novels and independent reading.

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