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Young Adult Readers' Series

Open to: Grades 7-9
Prerequisites: Students with qualifying verbal and/or math scores are eligible to enroll in  Dangerous Games and Rebellions and Monsters, Magic, and Mayhem, as long as they meet the grade prerequisites.
Note: While students enrolled in these Young Adult Series critical reading courses are not required to be verbal qualifiers, they do need to be ready to take on challenging books and assignments. Critical reading courses require proficiency in the reading and writing of the English language!
Format: Web-based
Challenge Level: High school and above 
Materials Purchase Required: Check course descriptions for details about books to purchase
Session Based: Session Dates and Application Deadlines
Length: 10 weeks (Fall, Early Spring, Mid Spring), 12 weeks 12 weeks (Early Summer), or 5 weeks (Intensive Midsummer)

painting of person screaming

In this digital age, the availability of the internet has made memorization less important than critical thinking. Students must learn to carefully investigate the credibility of claims and judge the validity of opposing arguments. Students must also become adept at making their own persuasive arguments.

In CTY Online Programs’s Young Adult Readers' Series, students enhance their critical reading, thinking, and writing skills through high interest, thought-provoking books, analytical discussions, and creative writing assignments. Course assignments were developed to meet or surpass most of the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading. Students are given many opportunities to create multimedia content using web 2.0 tools. Students receive individualized written feedback from their instructor and engage in online written discussions with classmates from around the world. Writing assignments include narrative stories; expository and compare/contrast essays; and persuasive writing. Classes are not live; work is posted in virtual classrooms at the students’ convenience as long as deadlines are met.

Intended for teens reading at a high school level or above, students:

  • Read four high-interest, thematically connected, age-appropriate books

  • Receive individualized written feedback from their instructor about each lesson's work
  • Participate in online written discussions with CTY Online Programs classmates from around the world, making inferences, determining motivations, evaluating arguments, and providing textual evidence to support their opinions

  • Post writing assignments such as narrative stories, newspaper and journal accounts, persuasive writing, and essays that encourage students to take on different points of view, summarize details, compare books with movies, and discuss central ideas

  • Learn how to use web 2.0 tools

  • Learn sophisticated vocabulary words and literary devices with the help of online games

Current themes include:

Dangerous Games and Rebellions
Monsters, Magic, and Mayhem

Parents Ask...

  • Since the course is asynchronous, students do not have to meet together in the classroom at any one particular time.

  • Work is posted in the virtual classrooms at the student’s convenience as long as each lesson's deadlines are met.
  • Students typically read and share written responses every other day (fall, spring, and early summer sessions) or daily (midsummer intensive session).

  • It does not matter whether a student has already read one or all of the books before the course begins because the emphasis on citing the text requires careful re-reading.

  • Students must already be proficient reading and writing Standard Written English. [Instructors discuss grammar only when it affects meaning.]

About Appropriateness

Parents should be aware that books selected for this course are intended for young adults, not elementary school children and, like life itself, contain elements of suspense, danger, violence, sadness, humor, romance, adventure, and heroism. All books invite thought-provoking and controversial discussions. Parents are encouraged to look inside the books and read reviews before deciding that a young adult critical reading course is appropriate for their student. If you would like to discuss the appropriateness of a critical reading course for your child, please email ctyonline@jhu.edu or call 410-735-6144.

 Parents are urged to "look inside" the books and scroll down to "read reviews" to judge whether the content is appropriate for their student.

Read Comments and Feedback from Students and Parents

Visit the Humanities FAQ.

Time Required:

This course requires approximately three hours for each of the ten lessons. Students should expect to spend:

  • approximately 3 hours per week during the fall, early spring, mid spring, and early summer sessions
  • approximately 6 hours per week during the 5 week intensive midsummer session

Note: Students do not have to meet in the classroom at the same time. A student's written work can be posted in the virtual classroom at the student's convenience as long as deadlines are met.

About Summer Sessions:

The Young Adult Readers' Series offers both a 12-week summer session that allows families to take a week or two of vacation and an intensive 5-week session. Both sessions cover the same course material and assignments.

While the 12-week early summer session courses allow for 2 weeks total vacation, students in the Young Adult Readers’ courses are encouraged to work ahead or make up their work to try to keep up with their classmates whenever possible. Experience has shown that these courses are most fun when all students are working on the same lesson. Students must notify the instructor at the course's start about any planned vacation dates and must meet scheduled due dates when they are not on vacation. [Students who make up their work can finish their early summer course in 10 weeks.]

Due to the intensity of the 5-week intensive midsummer sessions, students should not take any vacation break or attend all day camps while participating in the midsummer courses. 

If you have any questions, please contact us before applying at ctyonline@jhu.edu.

System Requirements:

  • CTY Online Programs courses require a properly-maintained computer with Internet access and a recent-version web browser (such as Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer) with the Adobe Flash plugin.
  • Students are expected to be familiar with standard computer operations (e.g. login, cut & paste, email attachments, etc).
  • Spam blockers, parental controls, and other internet filtering software must allow email from JHU (jhu.edu & jhem.jhu.edu), and from the instructor's email address (provided at start of course).
  • Since this course uses a web-based classroom for assignments and group discussion, your browser will need to allow cookies, javascript, and popup windows from the classroom web site.