Skip to main content

See also:

Home-school records: the reading list

The HomeScholar
The HomeScholar

One of the records you will submit with your child’s college admission package is a reading list. The reading list includes all the books your child read throughout high school (9th-12th grades). Every book read for fun, for school, and even every magazine! Colleges would like to see whatever your child has been reading.

What do you do when you have a child who just doesn’t read very much? You can always round out the list by including any audio books your child listened to. And don’t forget any read-alouds your family did together.

On the other hand, if your child is a prolific reader, then the chances of you capturing 100% of the books they read is pretty slim! Even if you can record 50% of the books read, you are going to be fine. I had two prolific readers - about the only thing my two sons had in common. I could not keep up with them and they refused to keep a reading list, even with much cajoling. So, about every two months I asked them to bring me any books they had been reading. I stacked the books on the floor and typed them into their respective reading lists on the computer.

The minimum number of books colleges would like to see your child has read would be about 5 or 6; the maximum would probably be about a hundred. Keep in mind that colleges do want to see more than one genre represented. If you only have classic books on the list so far, branch out! Make sure your child also reads some popular, modern literature. Include some older books, some typical reading list books, and some not so typical books.

It’s not possible for your child to read ALL the classics. If you’re applying for a classic books program or a classic books college, they might want to see more classics included on your list. Keep in mind that a typical high school AP English course might include two classic books per quarter. Your children are probably reading more than that, so don’t worry too much if your child has the minimum amount.

If you haven’t already started keeping a record of the books your child has read, you can get started now! If they’re well into the high school years, look back at your library slips, your bookstore receipts, and on your bookshelf. Open up a Word document on your computer, and just start typing.