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Topic: Classic books for two foreign exchange students

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Subject: Classic books for two foreign exchange students
Date Posted: 8/12/2013 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2006
Posts: 15
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I am looking for classic for two foreign exchange students (male age 17 from Italy and Switzerland) who would like to read many of the classics in English. Twain, Dickens, Tolstoy, Thoreau, Dostoevsky, Heller... Thank you for any help

Date Posted: 8/12/2013 9:09 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I think the most approachable Dickens books are David Copperfield and Oliver Twist.

I believe Thoreau is a bit too challenging to read. Twain is fairly easy but I'm not personally fond of him. 

I think Jane Eyre would be a great choice.


Date Posted: 8/13/2013 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,417
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if they are here in the US I would tend toward American authors. For Twain I would think that Huckleberry Finn would be the one. However you may have to do some explaining about the N word.

Melville might be a good suggestion but not Moby Dick. It would take too much time. I would try Billy Budd.

Walden by Thoreau is an important book in American history. A book that goes along with Walden is The Machine in the Garden by Leo Marx. a classic.

pick something by Hawthorne.

Date Posted: 8/13/2013 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2009
Posts: 87
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Maybe you could also try short stories by American authors? It would give them a chance to try a wide variety of American authors without having to commit to a long book. I read Great American Short Stories: From Hawthorne to Hemingway (from the Barnes & Noble Classics series - worldcat.org has a list of the stories that are included in it). After I read it, I got a better idea of who I wanted to read more of - so maybe the same will work for them. 

Date Posted: 8/14/2013 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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We had a good time reading Stone Soup and The Blind Men and the Elephant and a couple other storybooks of that sort in my adult ESOL class.

We would do a pre-reading exercise first, with words I suspected might cause a little difficulty.  I would get enough copies to go around, with two students to a copy of the book.

I would play some of the  recorded version of the book so that they could catch on to the audible signal to turn the page.  Besides the illustrations in the book, we had assembled some "props"  (a 'kettle', a large "stone", some veggies, etc.  Part of the value of including an exercise like this in the ESOL classroom is the sense of accomplishment the students got from having read a "whole" book, from cover to cover.

ESOL = English For Speakers of Other Languages

Date Posted: 8/19/2013 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,291
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How about some short stories by Edgar Allen Poe?