Theme: The Roots of the Story

In order to begin tenth grade Language Arts with a shared reading experience, we require each student to read the selection listed under his/her course level. We have selected a novel that relates thematically to the essential questions of each course. We believe that pre-requisite reading should be focused and that a common reading experience helps to establish a community of learners on the first day.

Please help by making completion of this task non-negotiable. Work with your child to develop a reading schedule, and if possible, to read the selection so that your child has the opportunity to discuss with you what s/he is reading.

Resource Materials:
Visit to learn more about the reading selections. This website provides overviews of novels with attention to potential parental concerns and questions about book selections. Additionally, parents and students can visit the course overviews at the webpage found within the 9-12 Language Arts section of the “Curriculum” tab. These overviews provide further insight into the goals, thematic ideas, and enduring understandings that will inform student learning throughout the duration of the course.

We recommend that students keep a reading journal and/or a reading guide that they will be permitted to use as a memory aid for the assessment. Teachers have prepared optional reading guides for each selection. These guides are available in the guidance office or online at

Students must read the required novel before the start of the school year. Teachers will assess the reading during the first few days of the course.

A parent (or guardian) who has an objection to a selection designated for his/her son or daughter should send a letter to the high school principal, explaining the objection and requesting an alternative assignment.

Academic 10
Keyes, Daniel: Flowers for Algernon.
  • 1966 Nebula Award given by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Charlie Gordon has been chosen as the perfect subject for an experimental surgery. Researchers anticipate the surgery will improve his intelligence, but will it last? Charlie’s new intelligence both complicates and invigorates his life in a journey of intellectual, psychological, and sexual self-discovery.


Honors English 10

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird.
Harper Lee’s iconic novel is narrated by Scout as she comes of age during the Depression Era in Maycomb, Alabama. Lee’s subtle novel provides an insightful commentary on the pervasive racial issues of the time and how a young girl comes to understand the world around her.
Amazon Reviews

English 10 100

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Flinn, Alex: Breathing Underwater.
To his friends, popular and handsome sixteen-year-old Nick Andreas has led a charmed life. But the guys in Nick's anger management class know differently. So does his ex-girlfriend Caitlin. Now it looks like the only person who doesn't realize how far from perfect Nick's life has become is Nick himself.

Alternate title:
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Steinbeck, John: Of Mice and Men.
They are an unlikely pair: George is "small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family," clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation. Laborers in California's dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.