“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” – Mark Twain
Are you encouraging your teenagers to read classic literature?
Great books can introduce new ideas, transport us to far off lands, and even help students think about the world around them in a different way.
High school students already have a lot on their plate with lessons, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs. So, how can we make sure our teens are not only reading great works of literature but also learning from the experience?
I’m happy to share with you the tools we are using to help our middle and high school students become familiar with classic literature – a teen book club and Dover Thrift Study Guides.
I received a copy of this curriculum as well as financial compensation for my time to write an honest review and for administering the Giveaway. All opinions stated are mine.
Teen Book Club Made Easy
Throughout our homeschool journey I have had a goal to read classic literature with my children. You see, as I grew older I realized there were many great stories I never read as a child, and I wanted to make sure my children had a chance to experience these stories at an early age.
There was just one problem, when my kids were younger they were not fond of independent reading. To help address this issue we encouraged a love of great books through family read alouds and talking about books with friends.
During the elementary and middle school years I always hosted a book club for several homeschool families. In addition to reading wonderful books, our families met to help bring classic stories to life through thoughtful discussions, creative writing assignments, and engaging group activities.
As our children are moving into high school our book club is still meeting and our children continue to say book club is one of their favorite homeschool activities. As the kids are getting older, however, I needed to adjust our book selections and book club activities to meet the needs and interests of our now teenage students.
Luckily I found a simple and affordable tool that makes planning for our teen book club SUPER easy – comprehensive literature study guides from Dover Publications!
Dover Thrift Edition Books & Study Guides
Confession time – I prefer to purchase books.
I know it would be most cost effective to check-out the classic books we are reading from the library or, for those in the public domain, download the books from an online source. However, in addition to reading great stories with my family I’ve also been determined to help my children build a library of their favorite books.
For years I have purchased Dover Thrift Edition books for our family. For just a couple of dollars each I’ve been able to buy titles such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Beowulf, The Call of the Wild, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and many more.
As I was looking through the Dover Publications website at the titles we plan to read over the next few years I noticed the Thrift Study Editions. WOW! These books are perfect for high school students, either for independent reading or for a book club setting.
Keeping true to the quality and value of the Dover Thrift editions, these affordable study guides include:
- Complete and unabridged text of the book/play
- A Comprehensive Study Guide including:
- Author biography
- Historical background
- List of characters
- Chapter/scene summaries, character list, analysis, study questions (with answers) and essay topics
Our Teen Book Club Plans for the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
My kids are big fans of Mark Twain. In years past we have read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Our book club is excited about exploring Mark Twain’s unique style again by reading about Huck Finn’s adventures and I’m really happy to have some new questions/discussion topics available thanks to the Dover Study Guide.
To give you an idea of how we use the Dover Study Guides with our teen book club, here are our plans for reading Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:
- During a group meeting, use information in the Study Guide Introduction to review the life and work of Mark Twain and discuss the seven dialects used in the story as Twain describes in the “Explanatory”
- Students will read the complete work on their own. Families will use the chapter “Study Questions” to review the content of the story
- We will use the “Suggested Essay Topics” in two ways –
- I will designate some questions as discussion starters for our teen book club meeting
- Since we always include a writing assignment for students, some questions will be used as essay topics. Students will write their essays at home and bring their completed work to our meeting to read to the group
Additional Activities for our teen book club meeting will include:
- Discussions/Venn Diagrams comparing the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to other titles our book club has read by Mark Twain
- Further exploration into the life and works of Mark Twain using the website for The Mark Twain House & Museum
- Explore the Mississippi River using the National Perk Service Website
Benefits of Using Dover Thrift Study Guides
Over the years I’ve developed some creative lesson plans for our book club, but as the kids are getting older and our schedules are getting busier I am grateful for any assistance I can get to help my children more deeply explore classic literature.
I appreciate any educational tools that are high quality, reasonably priced, and make my job as a homeschooling mom EASIER!
The Dover Study Guides are a great fit with our homeschool and book club needs. Here are my favorite benefits:
Offers Background & Context
Before reading a new book we always gather information that provides context for the story. Often this includes reviewing details about the author, setting, historical events relevant to the story, etc. The Introduction section of the Dover Study Guides provides an overview of the Life and Work of the book’s author as well as Historical Background for the book.
Many Thought-Provoking Questions
As students get older it is important to help them learn how to analyze what they are reading. The Study Questions offer an opportunity to review specific content in the story, while the Suggested Essay Topics offer opportunities for analysis, sharing personal thoughts, and identifying examples in the text to support opinions.
Helpful Reading Tips
My oldest son has faced his share of reading challenges over the years. Even now he is often apprehensive when starting a new book – he knows he reads slowly and often underestimates how long it will take to complete a book. There are two helpful pieces of information included in the Dover Study Guides that I encourage my son to review before he begins reading the book:
- Summary of the Novel – This short (1-2 page) summary offers an overview of the flow of the story and helps him kids stay focused while reading the book.
- Estimated Reading Time – We LOVE this feature! In a short paragraph students are given tips about the language used in the book, suggestions for how to divide the reading, and how long it should take an average reader to complete the book.
Comprehensive Yet Flexible
Although I like to find resources to help with our homeschool lessons, I rarely follow any guide or curriculum letter-for-letter. I prefer to use resources I can easily modify to fit our situation and needs. The Dover Study Guides offers helpful tools such as background information, study questions, essay questions, and more. These tools can be used in a variety of ways to address the goals of individual students, families, and group settings like co-ops.
Appropriate for High School Students
Obviously Dover understands what books high school students will be reading. Many of the books I’ve found on recommended high school reading lists are available as Study Editions. Can I say one more time how these guides will make our planning MUCH easier!
There are currently 30 Study Guides available. A few I know we will be reading soon are:
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Hamlet by Williams Shakespeare
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
- The Tempest by Williams Shakespeare
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I have always found Dover Thrift Edition books to be among the most affordable on the market. GREAT NEWS – Dover Study Editions add a lot of value for just a few dollars more.
For example, check out these current prices:
- Dover Thrift Edition of Huckleberry Finn (224 pages) is $4.50
- Dover Thrift Study Edition (336 pages) is $7.95
Don’t forget, the Study Edition includes the text of the novel AS WELL AS the Study Guide. Everything is together in the same book!
Which classic literature novels will you be reading with your teen?
Find even more of our favorite books from our book club, along with activities and discussion questions you can use with your middle & high school students.