Here are 8 great types of high school American Literature!
High School American Literature
American Literature in High School should include more than just the obvious lists you can find on the internet.
It’s not hard to find lists of books by American authors when you’re deciding on your curriculum for High School English. But oftentimes such lists overlook some wonderful writing that could be a great addition to your American Literature credit.
Here are some things I included on my teens homeschool reading list this year:
We chose to use a few poems from each of several highly acclaimed American poets. There are so many to choose from, but our list included Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Edgar Allen Poe, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marie Howe, Stephen Dunn, and E.E. Cummings.
Tom Wolfe and others ushered in a new type of writing in the 1970s that blended journalism (real stories, carefully researched facts) with a narrative voice that made room for opinion, humor and social commentary. We read The Right Stuff about the space race and enjoyed it immensely. (Warning: some profanity.)
Speech-writing is a complicated form of writing that should not be ignored by literature students. We read a selection of speeches that included the words of Patrick Henry, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Abraham Lincoln, Lou Gehrig, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Margaret Chase Smith, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard M. Nixon, and Ronald Reagan.
Edgar Allen Poe was our choice for a short story focus, but there are so many to choose from! We steered clear of the more famous horror tales and read his mysteries instead.
Native American Tales:
These are easy to find on the internet, and made it easy for us to explore oral tradition, the power of nature, personification, anthropomorphism, and morals.
Modern Role Models:
Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot made us think about technology in a very interesting way! Highly recommended! Also, Fahrenheit 451 is an absolute must-read.
This New England-based movement of philosophy led to much of the American identity as individuals with a responsibility to God, to man, to the Earth, and to themselves. We read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott with a focus on the transcendental elements of the March girls’ upbringing (Did you know Alcott’s father was a lesser-known member of that Concord, MA community?).
7SistersHomeschool.com brings your teens American Literature: A Full-Year Course that will cover a year’s worth of reading for your average homeschool high schooler. Add the other categories listed above and your teen will enjoy an honors credit (just follow the instructions in the text).
American Literature High School titles covered by these study guides include:
- A Separate Peace by John Knowles
- A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (viewed through a lens of American Transcendentalism)
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee