Today in how to choose the best middle school literature I want to help you conquer the overwhelm by giving you a few seasoned homeschooler secrets.
Best Middle School Literature
When I approached the middle school years, there was no lack of middle school literature lists.
I loved having the lists, but I quickly learned that having tips on how to choose literature for my teen was better.
So first, look at these four questions asked and answered full of tips to help you decide which books are best for your family.
Four Middle School Literature Questions Asked and Answered
Should I Read Every Book My Child Reads?
The answer is complicated. It’s both yes and no. The way you determine if it’s a yes or no is your purpose.
For example, if you’re wanting to use literature for analysis and to engage your child with understanding an author’s purpose it’s hard to do that unless you read the book.
Middle school is the time that most kids can do some introductory analysis. If you’re wanting to fill the literature requirement for just reading or for enjoyment, the answer is no.
I couldn’t read every book my kids chose, but focused on reading the few we would used for analysis. That secret tip helped me conquer the literature overwhelm in middle school.
In addition, this site for Banned and Challenged Books gives you an idea of the theme or worldview behind some books.
How many books should my kid read each year?
That is another subjective answer. Some kids are voracious readers others not so much.
But if you’re using the literature to fill a credit (yes you can get high school credit in middle school), you’ll want to set your goal for a realistic amount.
Looking over some literature lists for middle schooled kids, I’ve seen some unreachable numbers.
Whatever the number of books you come up with lower it. It’s so much better to get through a handful of books with meaningful discussions than to overestimate and rush through them.
That is disheartening for both teacher and kid. Remember you can always add more literature for analysis anytime during the year.
I’ve had different requirements with each kid as my circumstances were different each year, but a good rule of thumb at this age was to analyze between 4 to 6 books or less.
Some years we did more, other years I struggled to get through three books, but it was still solid language arts.
The other books were pure pleasure and met my reading requirement.
Middle School Homeschool
Again, this is NOT all your child will read, but it’s the amount you want him to read to help him with the critical thinking part of literature.
Do I want my child to integrate other subjects or skills or to use literature as stand-alone?
My answer is to integrate as much as possible. My preference from the time I learned about how to integrate was to use this method for all literature.
Integrate means to combine several skills or to combine subjects. By integrating skills or subjects,
- your child learns the practical application of grammar, vocabulary, or writing in a way that makes sense;
- the areas of language arts that your child is weak at can be strengthened. For example, he sees the correct spelling of a word in literature and applies it to his writing;
- your child can choose literature choices based on his interests or to cover a subject he may not like as well. Unlike public school, your child doesn’t have to follow arbitrary lists. Too, if he is not passionate about history, then well-written fiction prose can help him to fill a history credit. Literature can make a history time period come alive while filling both a literature and history requirement in a more fun way; and
- one unexpected benefit was that my kids learned study skills and research skills.
Literature Analysis for Middle School
Should I require my child to write book reports?
Although it’s not necessary for kids to write book reports, understanding the purpose of a book report lets you decide if it’s for your family.
Book reports, oral or written, are the blueprints for high school literary analysis.
The point is not whether you assign a book report or not, it’s that your child understands things like elements of fiction, genre, and figures of speech.
Whether you choose to do this orally, through a book report, a lapbook, or reading journal, it’s your choice. I have only one kid that loved book reports, but I orally reviewed with each kid the assigned books.
Next, look at this list of questions to include in a written book report or to go over them orally:
- Was it better that . . . ?
- What do you think . . . ?
- In your opinion . . . ?
- How would you change the character to . . . ?
- How is ____ tied in or related to ____?
- What choice would you have made ____?
Now that you have a quick overview of some of the general tips about how to choose middle school literature, look at this list of books.
Remember that you can choose classics, follow a history theme, favorite author or do a balance of genres. There are many genres to choose from.
Of course, if your child is college bound you will want to do a variety of genre even in junior high.
Literature for Middle School Homeschool
And one final thought there is a huge difference in maturity between sixth grade and eighth grade.
Keep that in mind in looking over this literature list as I provided options for different reading levels. This list below is a mix of literature that works well for this age, but you can always add to it.
- Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- All Creatures Great and Small: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Doctor by James Herriot
Books for Middle School Kids
Alternatively, you may want to use something besides just a reader or the literature.
Middle School Literature Teacher Guides, Themed Guides and All-in-One Curriculum
For my first time teaching literature at the middle school level I loved using teacher helps and many times I used them as life happened. Why reinvent the wheel?
You can choose a book along with a teacher guide to help you teach the important parts of the book or use an all-in-one guide or curriculum.
Look at some of your options below.
I love Lightning Literature and they’re perfect for the older grades because they have a schedule which helps when you’re first beginning to teach literature.
Still, I had the tendency to over teach literary analysis, but key to keeping it fun is to do a bit each day.
Then, Language Arts Through Literature series is timeless. Their middle and high school grades are solid.
It is a Charlotte Mason gentle approach to literature and fits a lot of my likes; it takes an integrated approach which aligns with how I feel beautiful literature should be learned.
However, one of my VERY favorite resources for middle school kids was created by another homeschool mom.
You’ll love Literary Adventures for Kids which is online and self-paced. You choose the books and course and your child goes at his own pace. All the stress and prep for learning about literature was taken out.
If you’re looking for something that your child can do on his own, or you don’t have time to read every book, you’ll love Literary Adventures for Kids.
Also, Progeny Press Study Guides have been timeless.
My kids can pick the book they want to read and we find the accompanying study guide. The guides cover background information, vocabulary, literary analysis, and more.
In addition, be sure you check out the discounted resources at Homeschool Buyers Co-op Language Arts section. There are many discounted providers for literature guides.
Homeschool Helps for Middle School
Another favorite has been the literature unit guides by Teacher Created Resources. Although they are created for a classroom, I’ve been able to get many ideas to flesh out with my kids.
Additionally, Memoria Press literature guides are grade level literature units which also have helped me at this age.
Next, Beautiful Feet literature are some of my favorite themed literature units.
Covering history and literature simultaneously helped us to learn how to utilize our time and widen our reading diet.
If your child loves history, then integrating history and literature together makes practical use of your child’s time.
Did I mention that reading doesn’t become a chore, but becomes a time you and your child look forward to during the day?
Finally, paying attention to detail looks different for each book with each child, but that is the purpose of literature analysis. Too, our children can come to view each book loved as an artistic expression. It’s quite possible.
What books are you using for literature analysis for middle school kids?
You’ll love some of these other helps for middle school kids.
- How to Transition a Child From Reading to Literature
- Modern U.S. and World History High School Literature
- 3 Beginner’s Tips: Homeschool High School Literature
- Homeschool High School Literature Guides
- How to Choose the BEST Homeschool Middle and High School Language Arts Curriculum & Options
- 20 Nature-Inspired Kids’ Novels to Nurture Interest In the Outdoors
- 6 Boy Approved Books Which Spark the Love of Reading
- 8 World War II Historical Fiction Books for Middle School
- 5 BEST Books to Create an Around the World Unit Study (and Hands-on Activities)
Hugs and love ya,