Literature 2019/20

High School Literature Class 2019-2020: Book List 

Welcome to the high school literature and composition class! The books I have listed below cover a variety of topics and a variety of genres. A word of warning however: As the class and I get to know each other, I often tweak the book selections to reflect the abilities and interests of the students. The Session One books are written in stone (figuratively speaking!)  I will post each session’s books at least two weeks prior to the start of that session so that you have time to prepare. 

Parents, your job is a vitally important one: You are the cheerleaders and book-providers. Your attention to the book list and attention to your student’s progress will make a great difference. I really appreciate you all! 

With that said, here is this year’s book list.

Session One: 


  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis


Session Two:


  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom OR
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand OR
  • The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson


Session Three: 


  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Session Four: 


  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • Peace Like a River by Lief Enger
  • TBD 


Course Goals

Goals: Session One

  • To read three examples of fantasy fiction: allegorical, heroic, and religious.
  • To explore the historical settings and forces behind the stories. 
  • To add to the student’s literary vocabulary.
  • To correct any ongoing grammar and punctuation issues.
  • To walk the students through essay development from the idea stage to the final product. 
  • To assess the students through reflective quizzes at the completion of each book. 
  • To take a field trip to the Wheaton College Wade Center, a research and collection center for C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien materials and memorabilia. 

Books: Session One


  • Animal Farm by George Orwell. Easily found in through the library system.
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Easily obtained through the library system.
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Easily obtained through the library system. 



High School Literature Syllabus: Session One

Week One: September 6

  • We will spend this first class getting acquainted with the class goals and format.  No reading will be required prior to Week One’s class. 
  • This session’s reading selections will focus on fantastical writings. Though thoroughly fictional, these stories each pack a truthful punch. 
  • This session’s writing and composition will focus on some basics: grammar, punctuation, and solid essay composition. You will begin compiling literary vocabulary.
  •  Begin reading Animal Farm by George Orwell. You will be responsible for reading the first six chapters for Week Two’s book discussion. To fully appreciate this allegory you should have a basic understanding of the Russian Revolution. You will be assigned a history scavenger hunt. 
  • Vocabulary and quotes will be expected homework each week.
  • Tea will be a vital part of our discussion time 🙂 

Week Two: September 13

  • We will discuss the first half of Animal Farm, propaganda, and allegory. We will develop our own examples of propaganda in class.
  • This session we will focus on the basics of grammar and punctuation. Each week we will edit writing and spend time on any weak spots. 
  • Each week this session we will also work on developing an effective essay. Week Two will focus on formatting and idea formulation. 
  • Read the second half of Animal Farm.  Vocabulary and quotes. 

Week Three: September 20

  • Discuss the second half of Animal Farm. Find modern day parallels. 
  • You will be presented with some reflective questions concerning the book. This will be graded. 
  • Editing work
  • Continue developing a strong thesis. 
  • Read chapters 1-6 of The Hobbit by Tolkien for Week Four. Vocabulary and quotes. 

Week Four: September 27

  • Discuss the first six chapters of The Hobbit. We will discuss exterior and interior quests; the definition of hero; what makes a reluctant hero. Discuss what themes are presented in this novel. 
  • Continue editing work. 
  • Develop and write three-prong thesis statements. 
  • Read the next six chapters of The Hobbit. Vocabulary and quotes. 

Week Five: October 4

  • Discuss chapters 7-12 of The Hobbit. 
  • Continue editing work. 
  • Finetune thesis statements. Begin work on the three supporting body paragraphs. 
  • Finish The Hobbit for Week Six. Vocabulary and quotes. 

Week Six: October 11

  • Discuss the final chapters of The Hobbit. Take a reflective test on the book. 
  • Editing work.
  • Read the first sixteen letters or chapters of The Screwtape Letters by Lewis. Define apologetics. Homework will require a one sentence summary per letter (chapter). I will also require you to choose one quote per letter. An essay rough draft will be handed in on Week Eight; we will discuss the topic and begin working on the essay this week. 

Week Seven: October 18

  • Discuss the first sixteen letters of The Screwtape Letters. 
  • Come up with working theses for the paper. Work on introductions and conclusions. Create an outline. Write the rough draft. Take notes. 
  • Read the next sixteen letters; continue writing out summaries and quotes. 
  • Assign Food for Thought 🙂

Week Eight: October 25

  • Discuss The Screwtape Letters. Hand in your summaries and quotes. 
  • Hand in your rough drafts. 
  • Take a reflective test on the book. 
  • Eat good food! 
  • Begin reading The Lord of the Flies by William Golding.