100 Classic Books Every High School Student Should Read: The DfE’s Definitive List

Erica Wagner, author and literary critic, read 50. Mick Connell, director of the National Association for the Teaching of English, read 34. And EST editor Ann Mroz read 41. (Read the full list and vote for your favorites here.)

But, according to the Ministry of Education, these are the 100 classic books that should be read by students.

A new initiative has been jointly launched by Schools Minister Nick Gibb and publishers Penguin Classics, following Mr Gibb’s call for more classic literature to be taught in schools.

The 100 titles include Jane Eyre and great expectationsbut also that of Dante Hell and by Marc Aurelius Meditations.

Many books are available for free on TES Resources.

The books include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and prose, all chosen from the Penguin Black Classic series. This means that their authors died before 1946, and the works are therefore out of copyright.

Mr Gibb said he hoped the books would encourage classroom discussion of classic literature. “It’s important that all high school students learn to read and appreciate some of the greatest books in world literature,” he said.

But many literate adults question the choice of books. “I read great expectations at 12,” Ms Wagner said. ” Error !

1001 nights – excellent. Integral? My 15 year old son just picked it up and it was quite a shock to him.”

And Mr Connell – who points out that his total of 34 books would have been higher had he been allowed to include other titles by the same authors – highlights some of the authors who have been excluded.

“Where are the brilliant contemporary writers for young and teenage readers?” he said. “Where are the best of modern and contemporary literature? Where are Golding, Plath, Atwood, Hughes, Heaney, Pinter, Becket, Angelou, Morrison and Mantel?

“Although I realize they had to choose exclusively from the Penguin Classics series. It’s like choosing teenage clothes from Marks and Spencer: a laudable intention without the slightest chance of success.”

EST the editor-in-chief Ms. Mroz, who was previously the editor-in-chief of THE, also questions some of the choices. “Where’s Sylvia Plath?” she says. “If you’re trying to get young girls to read, I’d have a bit of Plath. And I’m outraged you could miss F. Scott Fitzgerald or Graham Greene.”

She also points out that some of the author’s most accessible books – Dickens Oliver Twist or Austen Emma – have been abandoned in favor of more complicated ones: great expectations Where Persuasion.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is also missing,” Ms Wagner said. “If you wanted to pick just one novel that actually changed something in the world, I think this would be it. But then, no list will make everyone happy.”

Some lists, however, come closer than others. ” EST did a pretty good job releasing 100 titles for elementary and middle school students in the summer of 2015,” Connell said. “I suggest you send copies to the Department.

Of the 100 DfE books, how many have you read? Vote for your favorites in our poll.

Want to keep up to date with the latest education news and opinions? To follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook

About Marcia G. Hussain

Check Also

The Worst Classic Book Covers

This content contains affiliate links. When you purchase through these links, we may earn an …