My students represent the broad spectrum of students in our school. They come from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds as well as skill levels. Some students enroll in this rigorous class because their intelligence suits them for it; others enroll because their work ethic is strong and supports their success. Some students come from privileged backgrounds; others are struggling at home to help make ends meet. These are children of immigrants and natives; doctors and factory workers; single parents and extended families; foster homes and multi-generational homes. I have athletes, musicians, singers, actors, leaders, artists, debaters, Scouts, cheerleaders, CNAs, and fast-food employees.
This class is a microcosm not just of our school, but our community and the world as a whole; they have in common a desire to succeed, learn and be better tomorrow than they are today.
They choose to enroll in this class knowing it isn't easy. Students learn Advanced Placement as well as Composition I and II college-level curriculum. The class is fast-paced with a lot of independent learning. Students learn college and career skills like prioritizing, time management, meeting deadlines, staying organized, juggling multiple tasks, and planning both short-term and long-term.
These abridged classic novels enable my students to be exposed to a wide variety of literature. We are all busy and lack the time to read all we should. Shortened, simplified, but still containing all of the characters, plot elements, and themes of their longer counterparts, these abridged novels are quick and easy to read; most students read the entire novel in 2 hours or less!
By the end of my class, students have read 9 classic novels -- from Frankenstein, Great Expectations, Moby Dick, Black Beauty, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Odyssey, Robinson Crusoe, Oliver Twist, and The Phantom of the Opera.
By reading these books in a shortened format, the students consume a vast quantity of knowledge in a short time, and they love them!
Students often enthusiastically tell each other about the books they're reading, recommend them to each other, and even go on to read the full, unabridged versions of their favorites. These specific books are important to open the door to great literature the students would not otherwise have the time to explore.
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