Age Appropriate Reading List

R and I were talking about a blog about teaching English/writing. I often have to THINK about lit recommendations. I don’t always think before I speak, bad plan.

I said I would have paid for an “age appropriate reading list” when the boys were younger, if I could have been sure that it would have only included books that I thought were appropriate, or if it would have included a synopsis of any possibly problematic points.

For example, if the list recommended Ethan Frome, the synopsis might include, emotional adultery and attempted suicide in the book. These however lead to very negative consequences and are not rewarded in any way.

So I thought, since I have read the topic on many blogs recently, that I would look on-line for age appropriate reading lists. By putting that in Google I got the typical things the blogs I was reading complained about… modern literature with twisted parents, unhappy endings, and no consequences for negative actions.

I googled Christian age appropriate reading lists. I thought that would give me a leaner, more homeschooler non-literary person friendly list.

I found this list for grades 7-9.

When I read through the entries, I found several that I would not recommend for that age group, even if they are “advanced readers.” (Both my boys are advanced readers.) And I found several which were used in my high school, where most of the students went on to Ivy League schools.

Barnaby Rudge is a depressing story about a man who dies in prison.

Frankenstein is usually read in the twelfth grade. I teach it at a community college for freshmen and do a fairly in-depth review of the vocabulary.

Wuthering Heights is also usually a college book. The head of our department teaches it and gives an extensive review into the era, customs, and language of the book.

Gulliver’s Travels is 440 pages, written in 1726, and is an elaborate satire with political emphases that no one outside a graduate class in English history can access without help. I have taught it in freshman English and have spent a lot of time on lectures, vocabulary, and explanations.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo was an upper division English selection in my college.

Dumas is a fascinating writer, but I read his works in my graduate classes.

Ditto with Silas Marner and other books by George Elliot.

The Charles Dickens’ books I either read in my tenth grade, college bound, English class or in my graduate classes in college.

Two Years Before the Mast is a terribly depressing book which is generally assigned in college, if anywhere.

Willa Cather has several books recommended. I have never had those books outside of a college reading list. And there is almost always murder and sex outside of marriage in her books.

So I guess this would not be a good reading list. Unless you are familiar with the books on the list.