This article continues for grade 10 (English I) what the ARTICLE accomplished for grade 9 (English I). Subsequent articles will address grades 11 through 12.
Recommended High School Reading List-Aims and Objectives for Grade 10 (English II)
Sophomore English Language Arts builds on what has been accomplished by the end of the ninth-grade year. Students should been acquainted with Shakespeare and learned basic vocabulary and literary terms to allow them to begin writing about literature and undertaking literary analysis. In grade 10 they will read more Shakespearean drama, which could include Julius Caesar, a tragedy important for helping students understand literary allusions and concepts which he will encounter in the years ahead. Many teachers elect to teach Shakespeare’s Macbeth at this grade level. A student who studied and took to heart many of the lessons found in this play might never choose paths experienced by so-called leaders such as those in charge at Enron or by Bernie Madoff.
Recommended High School Reading List–Classic Works of Literature
Students should also have some experience with Greek and Roman mythology, for poets, novelists and historians ever since have built upon this richness. When a student possesses little or no background in ancient Greece and Rome and their mythology, they will fail to understand the rich symbolism, allusions and figurative language, and indeed, entire works. Students who have not read at least The Odyssey and excellent mythology books such as Edith Hamilton may find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to studying other works. Tenth-grade curriculum often includes works that help students continue gaining background in these areas by studying works such as Greek tragedy and comedy, mythology and epic poetry by Sophocles, Hamilton, Homer and Vergil.
Literary Classics in the Classroom–College Prep Continues
To continue their study of works that help provide “a strong foundation for literary analysis,” students will encounter rich and timeless works from world literature, American literature and British literature.
They will continue reading drama, short stories, poetry and novels by some of the world’s literary giants. They will begin examining a writer’s stylistic devices, to understand what he is doing in a work and begin analyzing how he achieves what he does. In short, students ideally begin to recognize and analyze what makes up literary genius and universality in theme and other elements of literature.
According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Standard Course of Study, teachers at the tenth-grade level (English II) should incorporate books into their curriculum that “meet the goal of having students examine classical and contemporary world literature. . .” and “build upon their understandings of literary concepts, elements, genres, and terms.” Additionally, teachers should guide students as they apply their learning and examine works of literature in cultural contexts to increase their appreciation of the “diversity and complexity of world issues.” Students study literature against historical and cultural backgrounds while making global connections to their own lives and experiences in the modern world (NCELASCS, p. 74).
A List of 25 Most Often Taught Literary Works at Grade 10 (English II) in North Carolina
Night by Elie Wiesel (Literary memoir, originally in French)
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Novel, French) *
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (Novel, German) *
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen (Drama, Norwegian) *
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (Drama, Greek) *
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand (Drama, French) *
Antigone by Sophocles (Drama, Greek) *
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (Novel, German)
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (Drama-Tragedy, British)
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (Novel, French) *
Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya
Medea by Euripides (Drama, Greek)
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (Novel, French)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo Novel, French) *
The Iliad by Homer (Epic poetry, Greek) *
Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (Novel, English)
The Inferno * and The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (Drama, Italian)
The Gilgamesh (Epic poetry, Sin-liqe-unninni’s tablets, written in Babylonian cuneiform)
The Chosen by Chaim Potok (Novel, English)
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (Novel, Spain) *
Tartuffe by Moliere (Drama, French)
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka *
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Solzhenitsyn *
Mythology by Edith Hamilton
Candide by Voltaire *
*Genre and original language are listed in parentheses.
Note: ** Books marked with an asterisk appear on the College Board’s 101 Great Books Recommended for College Bound Readers List
• For a complete listing, including other notable works, visit the North Carolina Department of Public Instructions Standard Course of Study website (See Resources)
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Standard Course of Study: Appendix: English II Books
See other articles written by Carrie Matilda on this topic:
Recommended High School Reading List for Grade 9
Recommended High School Reading Lists – College Prep Includes Reading Classic Literature
Reading Strategies for High School Students-Develop a High School Reading List
Improve a Child’s Vocabulary Skills Through Reading Classic Children’s Literature
Recommended Reading Lists for College-Bound-Top Classic Novels