Linked above is a list of the major texts assigned, as well as films shown, in English classes at Los Altos High School. You will probably recognize some of the titles from your own reading and viewing while others may be new to you. In addition, we have a list of Annotated Readings. You might check this list for independent and pleasure reading suggestions.
The works we have selected deal with a range of human experience, insight and values. In making literary selections, we consider the difficulty of a text in terms of its vocabulary, sentence structure and style, its thematic connection to the lives of students at Los Altos, and its place in literary history. We ask ourselves: Will this book challenge the strongest readers yet be accessible to the weaker readers? Does this book model the kind of writing we would like students to emulate? Are there experiences and themes in this book that students can see in their own lives or in the world around them? Will this book broaden the students' cultural, intellectual and psychological horizons? We consider the same questions in selecting a film for classroom viewing.
Considerable educational research has shown that extensive reading is the single most important factor in determining a student's long-term educational success. A direct correlation exists for almost every student: Extensive reading leads to educational success, while limited reading leads to educational difficulty. In addition, good readers write better, have better vocabularies and are typically more knowledgeable in subjects beyond English.
English teachers will expect 80 - 100 pages of reading each week, typically 20 pages each school night. Honors and A.P. classes typically require 120 - 200 pages of reading each week.
Parents should contact a student's English teacher to confirm which of the listed texts he or she will be assigning over the course of this year. If a parent has major concerns about a text's suitability for a student for personal, religious or other reasons, an alternate text can be assigned.