Top 5 Wednesdays: Required Reading

I could have sworn I’d already written about the books I’d been required to read before, but it seems that there has never been a post specifically devoted to it either. I’ve always been a huge reader, and one of my favourite parts of school is when we got to read and study a book together. I was one of the geeky kids who loved when we had assignments that involved reading a chapter and answering the questions. To be fair, I didn’t always love the books that the teacher picked, and often would much rather choose a book of my own. I loved visiting the school library and finding new books to read, although I hated doing presentations about them. I think one of my most embarrassing moments in elementary school was when I did a book report on Mary Higgins Clark’s Let Me Call You Sweetheart. I was super shy and hated to present, so I must have said the title too fast and/or too quietly, and she made me repeat it a few times. It was so embarrassing, especially in seventh grade when everyone is at their most self-conscious, to keep saying “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” to my teacher! I’m sure we read a book as a group every single year, but there are only a few that I very strongly remember.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – This is the first book that I very strongly remember reading as a group in school, in second grade. I’m sure there was a class book in first grade, but I was reading well above grade level and was generally given my own separate work to do while the rest of the class was learning to read. I actually can’t remember specifically if we read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but I know for sure we watched the movie and discussed the story in detail. It quickly became one of my all-time favourite books!

2) Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – This was the book we read as a class in Grade 3, and it is the first book that I very distinctly remember being read to us. This is another book that quickly became an all-time favourite, and another one that I’ve read many times over the years. I’ve even led a Book Study on this one for my group at work too. I’m sure this book is a very common one that is read in schools, and I’m so glad that we read it.

3) Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker – I remember doing this book in Grade 6, but I have absolutely no memory of any of the details. Being Canadian, a huge focus of our Social Studies program was Canadian history. This book is about the Underground Railroad, which slaves in the southern US used to escape to Canada, where they could have freedom. I’d be curious to know what people think of the book now, given all the discussions about representation and potentially problematic content in a lot of older books.

4) The Giver by Lois Lowry – This was the book that we studied in seventh grade, and probably the first dystopian book I’ve ever read. It is about a 12-year-old boy named Jonas who is given the assignment of being the Receiver of Memory, which makes him aware of the darker secrets behind his seemingly perfect world, where everything is chosen for you. I’d actually like to read this one again at some point. I vaguely remember reading it a second time at some point, but I’m curious to see if it will be a different experience now that I’ve read so many other dystopians.

5) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein – In Grade 8 , our approach to class books was a little different. We were grouped into smaller groups, which was clearly by reading level even though they refused to say so, and assigned a book. My group read The Hobbit, and to be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan. I found it a bit slow and boring. I actually read it a second time in my children’s lit class in university, and didn’t really like it any better the second time, unfortunately. I actually wish I liked it more given how well-loved this book is!


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