What is America’s favorite book? This summer, the good folks at PBS have decided to take on this question and I’m thinking some of their materials might be useful for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Great American Read is an upcoming television series that “explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels.” The list (check it out here) was determined by a panel of experts and a “demographically and statistically representative survey” of 7,200 people. People can vote online and via social media for their favorites and the top book will be revealed in October.

The program launches this Tuesday (May 22) with a two-hour episode on your local PBS channel. Up here in Idaho, it’ll run at 8 p.m. MST on KAID Channel 4. Then, there’ll be five one-hour episodes throughout the summer investigating “how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.”

I haven’t seen any of the episodes (obviously, they haven’t yet been released), but I’m hopeful they’ll include some interesting chunks we can chop up to use when introducing SSR and, possibly, for emergency sub plans.

Also, there’s a one-page checklist version of the Top 100 books that’d make a great SSR book selection list. I’d cut required texts from earlier grades (kids here read Where the Red Fern Grows in 7th grade, The Outsiders in 8th grade, and To Kill a Mockingbird in 9th grade), some of the titles I’ve book-talked a million times (the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series, for example), and one title with a bit too much sexy time. Yup, Fifty Shades of Grey made the list. *shrug* Still, the list is a great collection of interesting works at a variety of reading levels, allowing for differentiation in a class of juniors or seniors. Looks like good stuff (click on image for PDF):

And here’s a 30-second hype trailer (John Green, Gabrielle Union, and Wil Wheaton? I’m in!):

Access the full list here:
http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/books/#/

Go here to learn more and find out when the program is airing on your local PBS channel:
http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/home/

Teach on, everyone!

(Please note: I have no business affiliation or relationship with PBS and haven’t received compensation of any kind for this post. I just think PBS is great and want to spread the word about these useful tools. I don’t sell advertisements or allow sponsored content on my blog. Weird, I know.)

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. “Where the Red Fern Grows in 7th grade, The Outsiders in 8th grade, and To Kill a Mockingbird in 9th grade”…I read those in middle school a million years ago. While I remember enjoying all, you would think things would have changed a bit over the years.

    The Outlander series is my personal favorite, but contains some “risqué” passages that may or may not be appropriate for a students.

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  2. Yeah, Crystal, I probably wouldn’t use Outlander in class, but it made the PBS list. They’re not afraid of getting a little…racy. 😉 Thanks for reading!

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  3. So sorry that Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury didn’t make the list. Captain Beatty’s speech is incredibly prophetic considering Social media and political correctness these days.

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  4. Agreed, Erin. The timeliness is undeniable.

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  5. Thank you, btw, for not hitting me with ads on your blog. I know you are passing up revenue to do it.

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  6. Happy to do it, Alison. You’d laugh to hear about all of the random stuff that companies query me about adding to the blog. I’m like, “Um…I don’t think my teacher peeps would care about your $300 gizmo.” That being said, I do include bits of info and links about the stuff I build because I actually use and love my own materials. Guess that means I’m not completely ad-free, just non-Randazzo ad free. 😉

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American literture, fun stuff, high school English, middle school, reading, Uncategorized

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