Independent Reading:

Guidelines & Books

CyberEnglish9 students will choose four books to read (one per quarter) in addition to the regular curriculum and complete an assignment for each.

Wondering what to read?

Books to get from your
English teacher
plus so many more not listed here. Check out our classroom library for a great book also.

Click here for a lot more recommendations!

Choosing books:
This page will give summaries for the books that we can provide for you (limited number available). Otherwise, you can check out books from the high school or community library. You may not choose a book from which a movie has been made without consent of the teacher. Choosing a book that is significantly below your reading level/ability could result in no points earned for your project. Some book choices will need to have parent approval. (See the links to the right).
New for 2009-2010:
You will be blogging about your books as well as doing a book talk (in a variety of formats).
Log Booklet directions:(not a choice for SFHS students)
You will need to compile a reading log booklet . Due dates for these projects will be posted on the semester calendar, but will be close to the end of the quarter. Each booklet will need an illustrated cover page, a table of contents, a blank back cover and your choice of four log pages inside.

Other Options:

Having Trouble? See these
Reading Strategies

Back to [Hogue] [Haag]


Books we own:

Reading level key:
D: difficult A: average for grade level E: easy

Some descriptions from

A Day No Pigs Would Die, Peck (1972, 150 pages, A)
A young Shaker boy learns about life in situations that are sometimes humorous and sometimes brutal.
A Member of the Wedding, McCullers (1946, 153 pages, A)
This book is about a young girl whose older sister is getting married and she feels left out and alone.
A Thief of Time, Hillerman (1988, 334 pages, A)
This mystery is set in the west with Native American themes.
Bless the Beasts and the Children, Swarthout (19??, xx pages, A)
The neglected attendees of the Box Canyon Boys Camp find their lives turned around by Cotton, who, in a hot-wired pickup, challenges them to join efforts to save a herd of buffalo and rediscover themselves in the process.
The Chocolate War, Cormier (19??. xx pages, A)
Does Jerry Renault dare to disturb the universe? You wouldn't think that his refusal to sell chocolates during his school's fundraiser would create such a stir, but it does; it's as if the whole school comes apart at the seams. To some, Jerry is a hero, but to others, he becomes a scapegoat--a target for their pent-up hatred. And Jerry? He's just trying to stand up for what he believes, but perhaps there is no way for him to escape becoming a pawn in this game of control; students are pitted against other students, fighting for honor--or are they fighting for their lives? In 1974, author Robert Cormier dared to disturb our universe when this book was first published. And now, with a new introduction by the celebrated author, The Chocolate War stands ready to shock a new group of teen readers. 
The Chosen, Potok (1967. 271 pages, A)
In 1940s Brooklyn, New York, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a Modern Orthodox Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son and rightful heir to a Hasidic rebbe), the young men form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, the crisis of faith engendered when Holocaust stories begin to emerge in the U.S., loss, love, and the journey to adulthood. The intellectual and spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son and his own father, and between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty, and, ultimately, the power of love.
Cold Sassy Tree, Burns (1984. 391 pages, A)
Cold Sassy Tree, a novel full of warm humor and honesty, is told by Willy Tweedy, a fourteen-year-old boy living in a small, turn-of-the-century Georgia town. Will's hero is his Grandpa Rucker, who runs the town's general store, carrying all the power and privilege thereof. When Grandpa Rucker suddenly marries his store's young milliner barely three weeks after his wife's death, the town is set on its ear. Will Tweedy matures as he watches his family's reaction and adjustment to the news.
The Contender, Robert Lipsyte (1967 136 pages, A)
Alfred's life is going nowhere fast. He's a high-school dropout working at a grocery store. His best friend is drifting behind a haze of drugs and violence, and now some street punks are harassing him for something he didn't do. Feeling powerless and afraid, Alfred gathers up the courage to visit Donatelli's Gym, the neighborhood's boxing club. He wants to be a champion--on the streets and in his own life. Alfred doesn't quite understand when Mr. Donatelli tells him, "It's the climbing that makes the man. Getting to the top is an extra reward." In the end, he learns that a winner isn't necessarily the one standing when the fight is over. Teens and adults alike will be knocked out by this powerful story of how a frightened boy becomes a man.
Dicey's Song, Voight (1982. 211 pages, A)

sequel to Homecoming

The four Tillerman children finally have a home at their grandmother's rundown farm on the Maryland shore. It's what Dicey has dreamed of for her three younger siblings, but after watching over the others for so long, it's hard to let go. Who is Dicey, if she's no longer the caretaker for her family? Dicey finds herself in new friends, in a growing relationship with her grandmother, and in the satisfaction of refinishing the old boat she found in the barn. Then, as Dicey experiences the trials and pleasures of making a new life, the past comes back with devastating force, and Dicey learns just how necessary -- and painful -- letting go can be.

Click on the book to get back to the top
Ender's Game, Card (1985. 324 pages, E)
In a world decimated by alien attacks, the government trains young geniuses like Ender Wiggin in military strategy with increasingly complex computer games.
Fried Green Tomatoes, Fanny Flagg (1988. 395 pages, A)
Set in a small Alabama train stop town in the 1930s, this gem of a book almost could have been shelved as just another light romantic comedy. Various women's voices tell anecdotes of Whistle Stop, as the chapters jump back and forth through time. We hear from Mrs. Threadgoode, reminiscing fondly from her nursing home in the 1980s, and the chatty Dot Weems, editor of the gossipy town newsletter (1929-1969), and then listen in on spirited dialogue set in the town of Whistle Stop itself. The storytellers never find use for the label "lesbian," nor do they see fit to take us behind closed doors, but this is nevertheless the irresistible story of a fierce and true love between two women, Idgie and Ruth. After Idgie saves Ruth from an abusive marriage, these two friends become partners in running the Whistle Stop Cafe, where no one, "not even hobos and colored," is turned away for inability to pay. Readers are set down in the corner booth to eavesdrop on the comings and goings of an array of eccentric, ragtag characters who drop in for buttermilk biscuits, Big George's barbecue, and, eventually, news about their own hometown murder mystery. Among revelations big and small, Fannie Flagg mixes direct and empowering confrontations with racism, sexism, and ageism with the colorful and endearing language of the depression-era South and the cafe's recipes for grits, collard greens, and, of course, fried green tomatoes.
The Giver, Lowry (1993. 180 pages, A)
In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newberry Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.
Great Expectations, Dickens (1867. 521 pages, D)
A young orphan boy benefits from the generosity of a stranger, but his life path does not meet without trouble.
Homecoming, Voigt (1981. 318 pages, A)
The Tillerman kids' mother just left them one day in a car in a mall parking lot. Their father, too, had left them a long time ago. So, as usual, it was up to thirteen-year-old Dicey, the eldest of four, to take care of everything, make all the decisions, feed them, find places to sleep. But above all, Dicey would have to make sure to avoid the authorities who would split them up and place them in foster homes. Deep down, she hoped they could find an adult they could trust, someone who would take them in and love them. But she was afraid it was too much to hope for....
House on Mango Street, Cisneros (1984. 110 pages, E)
In short, poetic stories, Esperanza describes life in a low-income, predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago.
Hobbit, The, Tolkien (1937. 304 pages, D)
The hobbit Bilbo Baggins is forced on an adventure by a group of unruly dwarves to regain riches stolen from them by Smaug the dragon, and in the process, he finds that he has qualities he never knew he had.
I Am the Cheese, Cormier (1977. 221 pages, A)
Imagine discovering that your whole life has been a fiction, your identity altered, and a new family history created. Suddenly nothing is as it once seemed; you can trust no one, maybe not even yourself. It is exactly this revelation that turns 14-year-old Adam Farmer's life upside down. As he tries to ascertain who he really is, Adam encounters a past, present, and future too horrible to contemplate. Suspense builds as the fragments of the story are assembled--a missing father, government corruption, espionage--until the shocking conclusion shatters the fragile mosaic. Young adult readers will easily relate to the shy and confused Adam, whose desperate searching for self resembles a disturbingly exaggerated version of the identity crisis common to the teenage years.
My Darling, My Hamburger, Haggard (1969. 123 pages, E)
As senior year rolls around, two unlikely couples find themselves caught between desire and the fear of intimacy. Liz and Sean, misunderstood by their parents, confused but certain they are in love, have an affair that ends shatteringly. Maggie and Dennis, just as confused, take their first steps toward understanding the demands life makes on everyone. Faced with real-life dilemmas that have no easy answers, Maggie, Dennis, Liz, and Sean must make choices that will affect the rest of their lives.
Nobody Waved Goodbye, Haggard (1971. 186 pages, A)
For some boys, the voyage out begins too soon. Peter was like that. He couldn't keep his mind on his school work; his girl Julie was nice but she was a grind. Resenting discipline and wanting to be free, Peter engaged in a thousand meaningless outbursts of rebellion, only to find that they added up to one irrevocable act of defiance. For Peter, there was no turning back. . .
Oliver Twist, Dickens (183?. 335 pages, D)
This story about orphans in Victorian London points out the inhumane conditions children often suffered through.
Paper Moon, Brown (1971. 240 pages, E)
Brown's 1971 novel was the basis for the hit film by director Peter Bogdanovich, who provides a new introduction to this reprint. Narrated by 11-year-old Addie Loggins, the story follows her adventures with Long Boy, who may or may not be her father, as they con suckers out of their money in the Depression-era South. Both kids and adults can have great fun with this book.
The Pearl, Steinbeck (1947. 118 pages, E)
In intimate, whispery tones Elizondo relates the tragic tale of how a priceless pearl brings greed, treachery and loss to a poor Mexican pearl diver, his wife and their infant son. Although Elizando's breathy, dramatic reading won't be to everyone's taste, younger readers, in particular, should respond to this interpretation. The narrator's tone lends weight and urgency to the telling and underscores the mythic quality of Steinbeck's classic novella.
Pigs in Heaven, Kingsolver (1993. 343 pages, A)
A young woman finds a small child who has been abandoned and takes care of her until the Cherokee tribe discovers the little girl is one of their own. A custody battle over the child brings up questions of family and belonging.
The Red Badge of Courage, Crane (18??. 134 pages, D)
A young man fights in the civil war and learns that war is not all glory and victorious honor.
Shoeless Joe, Kinsella (1982. 224 pages, D)
This book is about a son who learns to love his father through a mystical connection with baseball players from the past.
Tex, Hinton (1982. 191 pages, A)
Easy going, thoughtless, and direct, Tex at 15 likes everyone and everything. Life with his 17-year-old brother, Mason, would be just about perfect if only Mason would stop complaining about Pop, who hasn't been home in five months. Mason just wants to leave Oklahoma for good. Can Tex keep it all together?
Waiting for the Rain, Sheila Gordon (1987. 214 pages, E)
This book is about two teenage boys in South Africa, one white, one black. Even though they are divided by Apartheid, these two boys are friends.

Ask your friends what books they enjoyed and why
for more ideas about what to read.


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