must reads

Circulating about the web is a list entitled ‘1001 books to read before you die.’ I’m not going to include the link, as there seems to be some concern about the site harboring spyware. It’s a good list of fiction, though despite the large number, there are many worthy exclusions. The site provides a spreadsheet to download, hence the spyware warning, upon which you can notate the books that you’ve read, and the spreadsheet keeps a running percentage. It also calculates how many of the books you would have to read in order to complete the list in your lifetime, given your age and demographics.

I had fun comparing my reading with this list, and I enjoyed finding out my personal percentage. However, my most palpable reaction to the spreadsheet was to fulfill an urge to read more books from the list in order to increase my percentage. It’s the gaming aspect, I suppose, similar to what keeps teenagers glued to their video games: just one more ‘level’ before tackling the homework!

While this particular list of books is perhaps appropriate for our more mature students, I’m beginning to put together a list of ‘must reads,’ with this tentative title: books to read before you leave high school. I require my students to free read for homework, and we have free silent-reading days for a whole class period every few months—-which they love, surprisingly—-so, I’ve amassed quite a list of their favorite books. Of course, I’ll ask for their input, too, in a Google form: List 3 books you would recommend as essential for every high school student to read. These results would be collected into a one-stop spot for me to compile a list.

Education 2.0 is all about providing fun challenges that students will internalize, to encourage them to get their game on, while learning something in the process.

For more about teen reading lists see:

book ’em


1 Comment

  1. lhuff said,

    May 12, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    What a great idea. I think I’ll try the Google form myself–to solicit my own students’ recommendations. I’d love to see your list when you get it compiled.

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