High school reading programs can be divided into three basic categories: remedial, continuing (or building) comprehension, and advanced or college prep. Each has a distinct purpose in high school and every high school should have various programs in place to meet the needs of all of its students.
Remedial High School Reading Programs
Remedial high school reading programs are programs that assist academically challenged students who likely already have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in place. Some students who need remedial intervention have been in remedial reading programs already.
What Parents Should Know About Remedial Reading
One common problem and fallacy of the educational system is that once you're in remedial reading, you will stay there. Many programs assume students will not continue to improve due to existing learning challenges. However, parents can and should expect at least moderate improvement. It's important that remediation is designed to be an intervention and not a permanent placement.
Remedial Reading Programs
At the high school level, remedial reading programs focus on much more than just reading. In general, they should include the following therapies:
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Behavioral therapy
You and your child's school will make decisions about the therapies your child will benefit from and include these in his/her overall educational plan.
Continuing comprehension is for students who do not have significant learning challenges but are not ready for college level reading. These students will learn new ways to process and comprehend information, and learn how to research online (extrapolate information), read a newspaper for information, and similar life building skills. Reading lists may be included, which could include college level English class material. Over the course of high school, ideas and concepts like symbolism, voice, and understanding the author's meaning are introduced slowly.
Advanced High School Reading Programs
Students who are in advanced reading programs in high school can expect to read and work on skills that are about one to two grade levels ahead. The goal of an advanced high school English class is for students to take the Advance Placement (AP) examination in English.
Advanced Reading Lists
While there is not 'one' reading lists that all high school students would be exposed to, advanced courses focus on classics that would be required as a base of knowledge in college level classes. The following are examples of these classics:
- Austen, Jane Pride and Prejudice
- Brontë, Emily Wuthering Heights
- Brontë, Jane Jane Eyre
- Cervantes, Miguel Don Quixote
- Chaucer, Geoffrey The Canterbury Tales
- Dickens, Charles
- Author Unknown, Beowolf
- Shakespeare, William
- Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
- Fitzgerald, Scott F. The Great Gatsby
- Hawthorne, Nathaniel, The Scarlet Letter
- Hemingway, Ernest
- Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey
- Poe, Edgar Allen
- London, Jack
- Orwell, George, 1984
- Salinger, J.D., The Cathcer in the Rye
- Steinbeck, Jonathan
- Thoreau, Henry David, Walden
- Twain, Mark The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- Williams, Tennessee, The Glass Menagerie
Additional Information on Reading Programs in High School
There are many resources available to help you research high school reading level options:
- World Book Typical Course of Study is divided into grade level and then further by subject. You will not find reading lists here, but you will get a general idea of the types of reading and writing skills needed for each grade in high school.
- The National Council of Teachers of English is a wealth of information, even if you're not a high school English teacher. All of the site's articles on best practices, links, etc. are archived and so it is easy to search for exactly what you're looking for.
- Whether you're looking for lesson plans, games or something else, the Awesome Library has it. A wealth of information if you're willing to do a little research.
When you create an avid reader, the world opens up. Placing teens in reading programs and encouraging them to read is easy if you do a little research!