Teaching High School Literature

I have been looking at how to teach high school literature. I wanted to know how to find good books that are usually read in high school. I also wanted to know how to teach literature.

Different Ways of Teaching Literature

There are several ways of studying literature. We can study stories from a time period, a place such as America or England, or a genre. There are so many good books that we can find ones that interest us.

We can also study an author in depth. One year our child might want to read books by C. S. Lewis or Mark Twain. At the end of the year he will understand the writer's style.


To find lists of books that are commonly studies in high school check out;

  • Honey for a Teen's Heart : Using Books to Communicate with Teens by Gladys Hunt
  • The Book of Great Books by W. John Campbel, Ph.D.
  • Reading Lists for College-Bound Students by Doug Estell, Michele L. Satchwell and Patricia S. Wright

You can also do an internet search or ask your local librarian.

Some colleges also have book lists. If your child is considering going to college see if there are books that your child should read in high school.

We also have to remember just because the book is on someone's list we do not have to read it. Some of the books that are on high school lists were not meant for high school children to read especially young teens. Other books especially from the modern era go against Christian morals. There are other books that we just don't like.

Teaching Literature

Reading good books can give our children something to write about. They can write short essays about the book. Our children can also try to write short stories, poems, and other literary pieces that are similar to what they just read.

It is a good idea to have your child writes down any vocabulary words that they do not know. Later have your child look up the word in the dictionary.

We should also discuss the book. Your teen should already know how to identify fiction and non-fiction. He should be able to identify and describe the characters. He should also be able to discuss the plot of the story, what is the beginning, climax, and ending of the story.

In high school literature you will also want your child to analyze why the author wrote the book. To do this your child would need to know a little about the author. It would also be important to understand the place and time that the author wrote.

With your teenager you will want to talk about the different genre of literature. Your teen should be able to identify fantasy, science fiction and realistic. You should also talk about satire and allegory.

I do not like to analyze every book that we read. Once in a while I do go over the elements of a story. I want my children to be familiar with the terms.


There are high school literature textbooks. Some combine literature in there language arts course. You can buy Fundamentals of Literature, Elements of Literature, American Literature, and British Literature from Bob Jones. Alpha Omega also has American Literature and British Literature. Sonlight is a literature based curriculum.

No Time to Read?

You can use movies to teach classical literature. This would be a good idea to expose your child to literature when they struggle with reading.

When I was in high school we watched the movie after reading the book. You could also do this. Have your teens be movie critics. Watch the movie closely to see how far it deviates from the theme of the book.

To find movies that follow the theme of the book you will need to check out movie reviews. Some movies follow the plot of the book others do not.

Reading aloud can save time if you have more than one teenager in the house. You can read and discuss the story as a family.

Audio books are another way to save time. Your child can listen to books almost anywhere.

Read great books and discuss the stories with your child for high school literature.

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