Why do we have our high schoolers read? It certainly is not for the same reasons we had our elementary students reading. I’m reminded of a passage from Christopher Paolini’s book “Eldest” in which Eragon is being trained as a Dragon Rider and is asked to read many scrolls. He discovers a love for reading these, often finding that they challenge his beliefs and perceptions of the world while widening his perspective. This is, in my opinion, why teenagers need to read. Many of the classics will help them to think about things in new and different ways. Reading helps them to understand why they believe the way they do and prepares them to become thinking adults.
In truth, it doesn’t matter much the grade in which your student reads these books. You can pick and choose when and what to have your students read. There are obviously many more books you could add to this list. However, this is a great starting point.
You might try reading these books along with your teen and then discussing them. It can also be a great idea to correlate the book your student is reading with what they are studying in other subjects. For instance, if your student is learning about the Civil War, you could have them read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” simultaneously. Also keep in mind that many of these books can be found for free online as audio books or e-books.