Tuesday, March 25, 2014

BHS English Department to Introduce Summer Reading

Starting this summer, BHS will introduce a summer reading assignment for all students, according to grade level. The English Department is excited to announce the titles that BHS students will be reading in advance of the 2014-15 school year, and they are:

For incoming freshmen: Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger

Here in the northeast, we don’t really know about how much high school football matters in other parts of the country. In West Texas, it’s almost a religion. Friday Night Lights is the true story of the 1988 Permian Panthers, a team from Odessa, Texas, and the pressures that the team faces in its attempts to win the state championship.
For incoming sophomores: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

This story was nominated for the 2003 Booker Prize, and is part mystery novel, part family drama, and part character study. The most remarkable element of the book is it’s first-person narration, told by a 15-year-old autistic boy. The book is both daring and touching in its approach. A great read.
For incoming juniors: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

We recently (in 2012) introduced this text as a part of our junior curriculum, and next year, it will simply shift in its location to the summer. This book tells the true story of Christopher McCandless and what compelled him to abandon society in the 1990s and head off into the trackless northwest on his own, where he ultimately died. Some view McCandless as a modern-day Thoreau, others see him as a foolhardy kid who got in over his head, but he is charismatic, and his story is compelling.

For incoming seniors: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Another Book Prize nominee, this 1986 novel will fit nicely with another new addition to the BHS reading list, George Orwell’s 1984. Like 1984, Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a future dystopia where society’s power has become horribly imbalanced. The novel explores gender imbalance, governmental corruption, international paranoia, and one woman’s attempts to stand up against it.
Students will be responsible for acquiring a copy of this book. We will post links on this page giving suggestions on where to find a discounted copy as the summer approaches. Also, any student in need is entitled to a free copy of the book, more details will follow.


  1. I am NOT happy to see this. I strongly disagree with required summer reading programs. I think they do more harm than good. Summer reading should be about enjoying reading. My kid loves to read but you suck the joy out of reading when you force specific books on kids. Why don't you use the summer to foster a love of reading by letting kids choose books that speak to them? I know my daughter is not going to want to spend her summer reading about football. Seriously - football?? Don't we glorify sports enough during the school year? Now we are going to force feed it to our kids over the summer too? I wish you would reconsider. I would happily have my child read and do a report about a age/level appropriate book of her choosing, but this is counter-productive.

  2. Thank you for the feedback. If you're interested in hearing our rationale or research on this topic I would be happy to speak to you about it. If you're interested please contact me at your convenience.