Friday, September 16, 2011

Grade 9 Dystopian Literature Homeschool Course I Designed

Here is the nearly final draft of the dystopian literature course that I custom designed for my son's grade 9 literature class.

Of the 15 required reading novels, he has already finished reading seven and two books are in progress now. He has already read six short stories and I will add more from the short story collection book that we are using. I will create the film section in the near future, it will include watching film adaptations of some of the books, after the book has already been read.

As a jumping off point to create this class, I compared  college course syllabi. The course syllabi that I found online for dystopian lit are level 300 English courses. I may add more books to the required reading list as the year progresses. Some of the common college dystopian lit class readings I believe are mature content more suitable to readers older than 14 so I have not just copied a syllabus from a college course for college juniors. Since my son's class is a grade 9 course it includes some young adult genre fiction which is understandably absent from college course reading selections.

The reason that I am teaching my son a dystopian literature class is to ease him into reading for literary analysis (something he is not happy about having to do) using a genre he enjoys reading. Courses that he does in subsequent high school years will include more traditional high school reading selections.

Dystopian Literature List
created by ChristineMM

Grade 9 English Course

Required reading:

Novels (15)

Anderson, M.T. Feed (2002)
Bradbury, Ray Farenheit 451 (1953)
Clayton, Emma The Roar (2009)
Collins, Suzanne The Hunger Games (2008)
Collins, Suzanne Catching Fire (2009)
Collins, Suzanne Mockingjay (2010)
Dashner, James The Maze Runner (2009)
Dashner, James The Scorch Trials (2010)
Dashner, James The Death Cure (2011)
Golding, William Lord of the Flies (1954)
Huxley, Aldous Brave New World (1932)
Orwell, George 1984 (1949)
Orwell, George Animal Farm (1945)
Westerfield, Scott Uglies (2005)
Zamyatin, Yevgeny and Randall, Natasha, We (1921)

More novels TBD

Short stories

A selection from
Adams, John Joseph (editor) Brave New Worlds (2010)

Buckell, Tobias, Resistance
Doctorow, Cory The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away
Gilbow, S.L., Red Card
Gaiman, Neil and Talbot, Bryan, From Homogenous to Honey
Jackson, Shirley The Lottery
Tolbert, Jeremiah, Arties Aren’t Stupid



Update: I carried this course over into grade 10 and more college prep level novels were added as was a lot of movies. I should update this list sometime. For now I wanted to share that the course was more fleshed out later.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of The Roar from's Vine program. All others I purchased for our family's use, or read public library copies.


Katherine said...

Hi Christine -- I just found your blog through google alerts. Thinking Mother is right! I'll keep reading. Love your dystopian lit list too, especially mixing old (We) with new (Hunger Games). Thanks.

Sherry said...

What a great list. Could I suggest Unwind by Neal Shusterman? My son, age 14, loves it, and it has some good discussion points.

As for movies, CHildren of Men, based on the book by P.D. James is good, not as good as the book, but good. I don't know the rating, but it's probably O.K. for a fourteen year old.

Oh, I keep thinking of more stuff. On the Beach by Nevil Shute is an old book (1950's) about nuclear holocaust, and it would bring up some history and discussion of the kinds of things people used to worry about versus the kinds of disasters people worry about now. There's also a movie that I haven't seen.

Crimson Wife said...

I've got The Maze Runner sitting on my nightstand from when I picked it up on an airport layover back in June. It looks good, but I keep putting it off to get my Amazon Vine picks read.

KK and M&M said...

This is fantastic! I also found you in the google alerts. I have to say I was not at all thrilled with Feed or Maze Runner. And I agree with another commenter about adding Unwind. Your son would like that if he like's the others on the list. Thr Uglies is part of a series if he likes the first one. We are a long way from 9th grade but I love doing a dystopian curriculum. They do make for excellent reading.

ChristineMM said...

My son already read Maze Runner and loved it, I have not read it.

I am reading A Handmaid's Tale now as it is often read in college courses but there is some mature content that would be the most sexual he's ever read if I let him read it as a just turned 14 yr old. I am only about 8 chapters in so far and don't know what the rest of the book holds for mature content.

I have not read Feed yet.

I am going to look into the other suggestions everyone gave me, thank you!

KK and M&M said...

Yes I read A Handmaid's Tale in High School. We read it in 12th grade AP class. I enjoyed it. In 9th grade, I agree it is too much. Maybe save it for a senior year.

Jack Richards said...

I applaud you for finding a way to teach your son a subject he's not interested in. And this is such an interesting genre for highschoolers right now. I wrote a dystopian novel about technology and education. I'm curious how you incorporate technology into your son's education...

SmallWorld at Home said...

This is great, thanks! And On the Beach is incredibly memorable to me. I read it as a 20 year old, though, so I don't remember how suitable it is for a 14-year-old.