Suggested Readings for Teachers and Students

"Information is the currency of democracy." – Thomas Jefferson 

The reading lists that follow are not intended to be prescriptive and certainly not inclusive of every possible work that addresses the rule of law concept and its connections to such related issues as justice, good and evil, right and wrong, freedom and responsibility, equal rights, fairness, and citizenship. Indeed, even the list of connecting issues can not be properly or completely identified.

This is the teacher’s role. We invite you, the teacher, to use this list as a starting point that might stimulate you to create mental gymnastics for your students that will strengthen their own understanding of the importance of the rule of law in their daily lives and the necessity to preserve and protect it as the foundation for the rights and freedom we all enjoy. We also suggest that in order to make the most of class time while still exposing students to the works on this list, teachers may want to select passages from the longer works that address the key themes surrounding the rule of law rather than have students attempt reading the entire work.Using a key passage or chapter can be as powerful a prompt for deep discussion and writing as reading a 300-page novel.

To this end, we have provided a list of works representing a range of historical periods, national origins, literary genres, and themes – some specifically for teachers, and some for students. We have provided brief synopses for the plays, novels, and non-fiction works; and, when available, reader-interest levels and grade-level equivalency scores for the plays and novels. We hope these works will encourage teachers and students to carry their study beyond the one-day visit with a lawyer or judge, to see the implications for and connections to other areas of their education and lives. We also hope these works will encourage middle and high school teachers to expand their own reading lists and to develop interdisciplinary activities that cut across the artificial boundaries of the curriculum to engage students in appreciating the connections between civics class and their other classes as well as the real-world connections beyond the classroom. Click here for the Word document of this reading list. Click the links below to go directly to each section of the reading list: