Monday, July 29, 2013

The Day My Mom Read My Blog

My mother uses her very, very, very old cell phone only for an emergency (think accident), considers texting evil, and has abhors the concept of plastering pictures on social media.  Once, long ago, my brother brought her a computer; however, he quickly removed it to maintain his own sanity!  I mute my phone and do not respond to texts or messages in her presence as a sign of respect for our time together and because seeing anyone walking around talking or texting on a cell is the source of angst!  However,  yesterday, my mother sat in her chair with my cell in her hand, scrolling through pages, commenting at times, and reading my blog like a kid who had just discovered a wonderful, new world! 

This whole wacky series if events started as we were talking about my own writing and publishing dreams.  I told her that I write about "teacher stuff" but that I also model a writerly life for my grad students.  I demonstrate in real time how the "slices" of my life become the "seeds" of texts and how they become stronger through reflection and revision.  My mom asked if I could show her something I had written, and so, I opened to a recent page I thought she might find interesting.  I handed her the phone.  To be honest, my heart skipped a beat as I handed her the phone. 

I sat there, a little scared that maybe, I had written something too personal for her taste.  I showed her how to scroll down the page and how to "restart" the phone when it went dark.  She sat in silence for a long while and then said, "I could have told you about skiing on Jobberberg Mountain.  I went there once to watch them jump!"  I never knew that!

I know that reading small print can be hard for her, and I have trouble reading more than short texts on the cell phone, so I offered to read a few to her; however, she vehemently responded, "I want to read them myself."  And, on her own, she read all the posts on that "mobile phone page,"  skipping over the ones she declared "for teachers."  With a little bit of excitement in her eyes, she asked, "Can I see more?" 

With a serious face, she asked if I had written any about marriage.  It was not easy to find, but I did.  "Your dad was a wise man," she noted with a bit of a tear in her eye.  Then, and only then, she asked if I had written any about her.  I sure am glad I did.

Finally, I showed her the here-to-for evil social media: Facebook and Twitter.  I provided pictures of great-grandchildren playing on the beach that very same day!  She wanted more!  I showed her, proudly, a Mother's Day tweet from my own child!  She asked for more!

Finally, I really had to leave and I needed to take my cell phone with me! "This has been fun," she said happily. 

"I'll be back with more for you to read," I promised, knowing full well that in the future, I will be able to share posts, pictures and messages!  I also made a mental note to myself to get a "mobile airport" so that she can read my blog on a somewhat larger and easier to read-on tablet computer!    

I am pretty sure there are several "morals" to this story.
1) Putting our thoughts and words on paper is a powerful experience.
2) Don't "publish" unless you would be "OK" if your mom read it.
3) Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren: Don't put anything into writing that you don't want your Grandmother (or Nan to M, S, M, M, M, M, E, L, M, C, G) to find!  She just might! 

Thank you TWT for hosting SOL and making me feel like a writer! 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Beautiful Evening Indeed

The sun was a bit lower in the sky and the temperature was a bit lower too, as I left the Home. 

I'd spent longer than I planned, as there was a lot to talk about.  Rehabilitation can be painful and painfully slow leading to frustration, sadness and worry about next steps (literally and figuratively).  There was no way a few words about my blackberry picking or a few quips about the Yankees would suffice. There were tears and pleas to go home amidst clear awareness that you can never go backwards on this journey. 

Then, over ambrosia no less, we distracted ourselves with memories.  While neither of us likes ambrosia, there are some who consider it a tradition!  My Aunt, after a bit of prodding, talked about her mom's apple, green tomato and raisin tradition, lovingly referred to as her mincemeat pie!   In that old familiar way, her eyes lit up and her smile came back. "Perhaps, I could figure out how to make that memory come to life," I proposed as I patted her hand.  As I prepared to head home, she squeezed my hand tightly and thanked me, but not for coming to visit. "Thank your for talking," she said sincerely as I slipped out the door.

There was a part of me that wanted to slip quickly past Marie* (not her real name) as she sat slumped in her wheelchair near the door.  Yet, the beauty of the garden around her, the wonder of the late summer afternoon, and the power of the restored hope for tomorrow was in sharp contrast to the forlorn look on Marie's face.  "It's a nice evening," I noted, stopping for a moment to touch her shoulder.

"I guess it is," she said softly, "but my heart is not here tonight."  There was no way a few words about the sunset or a few quips about my blackberry picking would suffice. There were tears about missing out on a family gathering, an over-the-top wedding extravaganza.

Then, over home-made wedding dresses, no less, we distracted ourselves with memories.  "I made my own dress for about $20," I noted, "but that was a long time ago."  

"I made my daughter's dress of peau de soie and English lace with handmade buttons down the entire back," Marie smiled, "Every stitch was made with love."  She sat up and leaned forward as she stated firmly, "You know, I could still sew from this chair. I could also still do flowers, table decorations and invitations, the kind made of love rather than money." 

"Perhaps," I replied, "I could find someone who wants to get married on a beautiful summer evening, like this!  Dresses, flowers," I laughed as I patted her hand, "we could do it all!".  This time, she squeezed my hand tightly and thanked me, but not for coming to visit. "Thank your for talking," she said sincerely. 

It was well past 9 PM when I found my way to the porch, talking to my husband over dinner.  I took the time to put fresh cut hydrangeas on the table.  I wanted to linger a bit longer at the table, and talk, a bit more.  It was not the evening I had planned but one thing was certain: it was a beautiful evening indeed.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Critical Look at Fro Yo Pie

As I look towards the "healthiest eating" possible, I often search the internet for recipes.  In looking for summer birthday cake substitutes, I came across the gluten-free yogurt-cake that I must admit looks pretty CCSS mind-framework has me looking very critically at even recipes!  While it does not use ice cream and does not use wheat flour, it sure is not all that "healthy" in many other respects!   I might try it anyway, but I would need to come up with a substitute for so much sugar and find a way to reduce the cream.....perhaps just making it an ice cream pie or buying frozen yogurt and adding blueberry puree might be easier and healthier?

Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Pie:

The crust:  1 1/2 cups almond flour; 1/4 cup light brown sugar; 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
The filling: 2 1/2 cups blueberries, 1 cup sugar / honey, 2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 (16-oz) container organic plain yogurt, 1 cup cream
Coat a 9-inch pan with nonstick spray or butter.
Make crust. Press into pan and place pan in freezer.
Put blueberries and sugar in food processor, puree
Beat cream cheese in another bowl, mix in vanilla and yogurt.
Add confectioners’ sugar, blueberry puree, cream and mix.
Pour into the pan, cover with plastic and freeze, at least 3 hours

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blogstitute Week 6: Capture student thinking and learning with a classroom blog

PD in the summer time is better, more available and more challenging for teacher now!
Blogstitute Week 6: Capture student thinking and learning with a classroom blog

Deluged By Common-Core 'Aligned' Materials

Book Review: Children WANT to Write

Yes, there was a time when educators believed children learned to read first and then they learned to write (reports) for school.  People did not all become writers - only a few who were likely "genetically endowed with a gene that let them think creatively and write purposely about meaningful topics became writers

Yes, there was a time when good teachers, trying their very best had students copy poems from the board in neatly formed letters and called it writing.

Yes, there was a time when most teachers, all parents and most  children believed the best way to shape writers was to have them respond to writing prompts.

Yes, there was a time when I did not think of myself as a writer even though I DID think of myself as a reader. 

We've changed our thinking in the past 30 years and are on the verge of a second generation of students who see writing as  integral to the literacy-learning experience. This book takes us back to the roots of the writing movement that catapulted writing into a new orbit in our schools. 

It's important to know from whence we came so that we can understand the past and secure the future.

It's a good and an important read and perspective to know - for us all.

The Original Book
Thanks, Mary Lynne, I read this one too!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Not just for summer GOOGLE TOOLS

google tools in learning
Go check out this website for the whole story:

I loved this article because it was practical and understandable by a limited-techie!  You really should read it.  HONEST! I really think it offers us useful tools and it really describes and links to them better than I can do!  SO, I am only going to talk about a couple here such as:

1. Google Docs

  • I already use and endorse these!
  • You can collaborate with your students!
  • I love the idea of collective note taking - I think this would work really well in classes such as Health and Science!
2. Google Forms

3. Voice Comments

4. Google Dictionary: Image Dictionary

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wonder of the DAY!

I'm wondering....about how Amazon does this....
Please start by clicking on the links below:




How do they do this with all the clothes and all the models? 
Is it a hologram or holograph or is it a whole new field that we should be preparing for as per CCSS?   Perhaps we should be teaching kids turning, strutting. and modeling? 

In reality, I was looking for a block out curtain for my mother when I came upon this Amazon phenomena. However, in a quick scan of the models that do the "videos" I do notice "limited diversity" in terms of their sizes, shapes, genders, races, even hair I wonder if there is a need for more diverse people or for more diverse hologramers as we prepare for these careers.  What do you think? 

Do you want your kids (boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, dog, cat) to listen to you?

After the storm clouds parted yesterday, I started to get a clear vision of what my "retirement mission" might be.  I might write a book for parents, go around attaching myself to those get ready to have a baby classes, and talk to parents about talking to their kids!  Clearly, knowing how to get the kid out of its first "environment" is not the same as knowing how to raise kids effectively! Let me try to explain:

The angry storm cloud overhead, the rumbling thunder and lightning that almost touched the ground kept a bunch of us under a canopy yesterday.  I was quickly lost in a the exchange between a very pregnant mom, busily texting on her cell phone, and her two young boys, clearly ready for a change in venue! "You need to be good," she implored as they wriggled between people, almost knocking over several older people.  "If you are good, I will get you ice cream," she added without even looking up, as they started a hand slapping game that left me with a nice mark on my leg. "Boys, be good," she sighed as if saying it would make it so. "Be good," she implored again as one boy knocked into a nearby stroller.  "You know how to be good," she added, patting her belly, as if to assure the crowd that was growing a bit annoyed.

Meanwhile, Peter Johnston's words were ringing loudly in my head.  I so wanted to tell this mom that the boys really did not know what she expected!  I did not even know what she expected!  I do not know all the many possible connotations and subtle meanings of the phrase "being good" as it changes in every setting and environment! 

I wanted to do a (mini) workshop right there on the portico of the Mt. Kisco Medical Group and share how Johnston's words had impacted my own way of talking to kids! I wanted to tell her that I needed this book long ago when my own children were challenging! (Trust  me, they were!)  I wanted to whip out a copy of Johnston's book and start preaching about "ditching" empty phrases like “Be good” and replacing them with phrases such as, "What can you do to make this time pass quickly?"  or “How can you have some quiet fun as we wait for this storm to pass?”

Then, in this morning's PD Twitter feed, I read this article, by Grant Wiggins who declares that helpful feedback is: Goal-referenced, Transparent, Actionable, User-friendly, Timely, Ongoing, and Consistent.  Yes indeed, Grant, I will quote you in my workshops! 

I couldn't help but think of a site I had bookmarked long ago.....

So, I present to you (as a preview to the parenting workshops that I will some day produce as a public service) sites to visit to change the way to talk to anyone.  These resources will change the way you talk to kids, spouses, friends parents, store clerks and yes, I suspect, even to dogs!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Best Day

Some day....some day.....I might just publish one of my stories....but for now, here is my writerly life lead of the day!

Let me tell you about one of the best days of my life.  It didn't really start out so well, but, it was a super wonderful day.  No kidding. 

It started out like any other day in June, kind of hot and sticky even at the breakfast table. My mom was rushing around getting ready for a phone conference and telling us we should hurry.  I was feeling hotter and stickier just watching her!  It was a  the kind of day when I wanted to slow up, sink into a chair and read.
But, I listened to mom and ran out the door to the bus, just in time. The air was even sticker there and I sat next to Kevin who must have skipped his bath last night. It was like sitting next to a dirty clothes basket. 

So far, this does not sound like the best of days does it!

Anyway, during the morning announcements, Mr. L. announced a new school-wide reading program.  He said it was something that Mr. Booker, the most fabulous library-man in the world, invented.  I told stinky-Kevin to stop talking because I LOVE everything that Mr. Booker says and does. I love the way he talks and really becomes the character when he is reading out-loud.  I love the way he hunches over and pretends to me mad when kids have over-due books.  I love the way he smiles when he has a new book to share with me.

That's when my day started to become the best day ever!    

Monday, July 22, 2013

SOL 2013 Really Cool

With a title like Really Cool, you're probably thinking I am going to write about some hippie festival I attended.  Wrong.  On our Sunday afternoon bike trek, we did, however, see the remnants of a music festival along with dawdling deer, peaceful horses, snapping turtles, swarming fish, muddy rivers, pristine creeks, a restored trestle bridge and Joppenbergh Mountain.  While each was worthy of a post of their own, it was the really cool (almost cold) air wafting out of the base of Joppenbergh Mountain that piqued my interest and produced surprising finds! 
 (my picture)
In the sleepy hamlet of Rosendale, just to the north of Rondout Creek, there is a mountain, created, long ago, by glaciers and mined, long ago, for dolostone (used to make cement) and limestone.  The magically cold breeze that continually flows from under the mountain is indicative of its incredulous story!
Way back in December 1899, during a time when multiple companies were mining deep below the surface, there was a cave-in that miraculously happened when all the miners were eating lunch. The collapse certainly shook the nearby, and now restored, Rosendale trestle but also lead to a series of landslides and rock falls, and the total closing of the mines in 1907.
In the 1930s, the mountain came back to life when a skiing club build a ski jumping school there!  That was certainly a boost for the tourist trade in sleepy Rosendale, during the winter.  Then, in the summer of 1937, a creative ski club from Brooklyn found a way to make ski jumping a year-round sport! The jumpers took off on borax laden hills and landed on mats and topped with straw and pine needles! According to Wikipedia, Olympic skier Ottar Satre set a record with a 112 foot jump in 1937!  WWII put an end to using the mountain for skiing for many years; however, in the 1960's, the  Rosendale Nordic Ski Club built a 70 meter jump and attempted to resurrect the magical slope.  Wavering weather and lack of profits led to another "fall from grace" for Joppenbergh Mountain.

While I did not know this as I rode by on Sunday, rock falls continue, regularly, to this day!  
If all this is not strange enough for you, the base of Joppenbergh Mountain also has Willow Kiln, the site of several defunct cement kilns, and also the setting of art shows and a zombie-themed street festival!

In 2011, the mountain began its next chapter when after some cantankerous debates, the  Open Space Institute (OSI) purchase the 117-acre property complete with dangerous, abandoned caves, falling rocks and sinkholes. In 2012, OSI transferred ownership to the Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT) which was likely thrilled to connect this mysterious mountain to its own Wallkill Valley Rail Trail via its newly renovated trestle bridge allowing us to not only partake in a magical, cold breeze at the end of a long, hot bike ride, but also to wonder at the magic under, on top, and around this mountain!  I'm reminded that while Six Flags might offer a form of adventure, the really cool stories are over the trestle and around the bend!  
 (my picture)

My References:
While I know Wikipedia has limits, it sure was helpful!
check out these video - you will feel like you were there and frankly, they are better than my pictures!
I did do a bit of checking on all of this,_New_York

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Through clean windows I see!

I take to heart Gibran's words,
Your children are sons and daughters of the universe
yearning for their own paths.
Choices, decisions, theirs, not ours.
I did come on strong about education,
to fulfill dreams you cannot yet imagine,
I did come on strong about the Golden Rule,
the need for God, prayer, thanksgiving in life,
the value of patience, towards self and others,
the power of love, laughter,
the strength of friends, on this journey,
the benefits of a career you enjoy, at least most days,
the need for persistence, through the hard parts,
of family, with all its ups and downs.
of finding joy in each day, 
My children have found diverse paths including:
Engineering, teaching, inventing,
Leading, researching, coaching,  
Dishwasher and car repairing, sewing,
And, alas, a professional window washer!
Yes, as the sun streams through my window this morning,
I am glad that I did not determine paths for my children,
I didn't even know I would treasure this,
Yet, Gillian Strickland's famous line (morphed)
jumps into my head:

Grateful am I,
Through clean windows I see -
I have a child 
who washes windows for me!
Clean windows are one of the greatest gifts ever!  The thought of washing my great room window was overwhelming but not fir Private home and business window cleaning. They would get my vote t even if I didn't know the owner well.    @MFerreri58
PS, If you live in the NY metropolitan area,
send me an email,
I'll share my wealth :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cleaning may be hazardous to your health

If you are like me, this will be just the excuse you need to curl up with a third cup of java and finish that book that is calling:

Dr. Ferreri reports, "There is clinical evidence that
cleaning may be hazardous to your health."
Perhaps I have spent my life avoiding unnecessary cleaning because I sensed this to be true.  I have always adhered to what I refer to as a keep the surface clean and shove it into closets mentality.  Yet, in the summer and on vacations, I sometimes succumb to a need for "deeper cleaning mentality" and empty out a closet or two as I attempted to do yesterday morning. 
When I pulled a box off the top shelf (that had been certainly resting comfortably up there for 7 years), an old camera tripod that had been sleeping on top of the box came crashing down on my head!  A trip to Urgent Care and lots of Dermabond were needed to repair the damage from my foray into the closet.  Now, I will forever be left with a nice one-inch scar right dab in the middle of my forehead as a reminder of just how dangerous cleaning can be to your health!

Old School or New School, Keep Parents Involved | Edutopia

There are lots of things I like about this post - especially the examples.  It's more work to meet the needs of parents in both the "old" and the "newer" ways and yet it is essential today as we have not all totally morphed into 21st Century Living and Learning.  Old School or New School, Keep Parents Involved | Edutopia

On the other hand, as I read this post I was reminded that teachers who do NOT send parents texts, use classroom blogs /wikis / webquest, have interactive classroom sign-up sheets or share rewources through a class web / blog / resource site are certainly OLD SCHOOL and on the brink of extinction.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Notebooks, plan books, tee shirts and sneakers

When he was younger, he rarely got near any store (or than a grocery store) during the summer; however, if we did find ourselves in a place where they would be (think CVS or Walmart), I would be firmly steered away from those back to school aisles as if they were filled with contaminated soil.   "You promised we wouldn't have to look at them," he would remind me loudly if I even slowed to notice the brightly colored notebooks or the new backpack styles.  Yet, as soon as the calendar turned to August, my own "must do" list was drawn and I began to prepare for the apocalypse, known to others as "back to school," with the help of weekly sales flyers.     

image: adidas Clima Ultimate Short Sleeve Tee O21575An August birthday shopping trip to Dick's Sporting Goods could, with a little luck and prayer, be morphed into a swing into the mall.  It certainly made sense to ME as Old Navy was almost next door; however, the over-priced bat-suitcase, baseball glove, or lacrosse stick would only buy me 5 minutes of browsing the crowded aisles of one store.  The moaning would start if I suggested he try on clothes.  It would grow exponentially if I made him go into a dressing room.  Then, his hallmark line would emerge and he would, with tear-filled eyes, beg to leave the store, "I know you don't believe me but I really am allergic to stores and new clothes."

These days, the tide has turned and he spends his days in classrooms (on the other side of the desk) and locker rooms.  The other day, as those sales flyers lay strewn on the counter, I heard something I never thought I would ever hear, "Want to take me back to school shopping?" he asked, half smiling, half laughing, (half joking, but half seriously, I think) at the words coming out of his mouth.  I need some notebooks, plan books, tee shirts and, of course, sneakers.  This time, it was me who had the tear-filled eyes because even though he can purchase his own back-to-school attire and even though his back-to-school attire can all be purchased at Dick's Sporting Goods, I think he might have really wanted to eyeball the notebooks and plan books at Staples.  Let's face it, the smell of new notebooks is intoxicating!! 

PD, at home, with my coffee from the Two Sisters

It was just one year ago that I signed up for a one week, on-line, peer supported workshop that challenged me to try Twitter for PD.  It's hard to believe it's been only one year.  While I must admit I love seeing glimpses on my kids' lives on Twitter at times, it's the PD that brought me there and its the PD that keeps me coming back.  This morning, it was the Two Sisters sharing their CCS aligned assessment materials.  I am going to be using this in just a few weeks!    

Why ASCD's Whole Child Initiative Matters More Now Than Ever - Finding Common Ground - Education Week

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Keep Busy

I bookmarked this post Peter DeWitt wrote about stress

He began the article with a strong and controversial statement, " I'd rather be stressed than bored." I must admit that his choice of a lead sentence made me read it!  However, I left the article wondering about stress and how we can prepare ourselves and our students for the stressors that all lives have. 

While I do not have the answers, I do think that keeping busy is important to many of us.  So, perhaps the motto should be
                                             FOR HAPPY


Wednesday, July 17, 2013


While I would hope my summer PD is focused on teaching and learning, this summer, assessment seems to creep into everything!

This is what I was looking for:

I also decided to share this:
Development of PARCC Assessment Tools Underway
WASHINGTON, D.C. - July 2013 - The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) today released information about the non-summative components of the PARCC assessment system.  These components are additional tools and resources for students, teachers and parents to support student mastery of the knowledge and skills found in the Common Core State Standards, which will be measured by the PARCC assessment.
The four components are listed below:
The Mid-Year Assessment will provide students and educators the ability to work with constructed response and machine scorable items for formative purposes (students' scores will not be part of their summative PARCC score).  This optional assessment, accompanied by tools to support teachers in local scoring efforts, will be available for states and districts to use in the 2014-2015 school year.  More information can be found here: [LINK]
The K-1 Formative Assessment Tools and the Diagnostic Assessments in Grades 2-8 are being developed to provide teachers instructionally useful information about how well students have learned, or how prepared they are to learn, key content and skills in the CCSS.  The Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for both was released through the Florida Department of Education  These tools will be field tested in the 2014-2015 school year.  States and districts will have the option to use the assessments in the 2015-2016 school year. More information on the assessments can be found here: [LINK]
The Speaking and Listening Assessments are an important piece to the assessment system and unique to PARCC.  Because the ability for students to proficiently engage in speaking and listening activities is crucial for their long-term opportunities, PARCC is developing this assessment to measure the extent to which students demonstrate an understanding of complex information, ideas, and evidence presented orally and the ability to present complex information, ideas, and evidence effectively in speech.  The procurement for this component will be released in summer 2013.  More information can be found here: [LINK]
The Assessment Professional Development (PD) Modules will be designed to support teachers, school leaders, and school site testing coordinators as they transition to the PARCC assessments.  The five different PD Modules will initially be ready for teachers and school administrators in June of 2014, with additional updates to follow. More information can be found here: [LINK]
For updates to all of this work, visit
To learn more about PARCC, visit or follow the consortium on Twitter at
Follow the consortium on Twitter at 

Twitter Chat: Digital Writing in the Classroom

Twitter Chat: Digital Writing in the Classroom


I'll be there :)

Reading at home

Yesterday, Reading Today posted an article by Kathryn Starke,

Practice Makes Perfect, Especially in Reading

Starks talks about the importance of reading at home as well as in school and strongly suggests providing encouragement but not consequences to nightly reading through Read Aloud,
Echo reading, Choral reading, and Speed Reading.  

Check it out!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A wife-beater, argyle wearing Gentleman

  There was a 1909 Maxwell
With polished wooden spokes,
A fleet of impeccably restored Model Ts
A pair of proudly restored police cars,
A '69 Buick station wagon
That could rival a Hummer in width and breadth. 
A '79 Chevy Malibu
Just like Aunt Gert's

Yet, a wife-beater, argyle-socks wearing
With 30's garbed wife and teenager in tow,
Happily smiling for photo ops while
Hopefully spraying starter fluid
Into the engine of his 'ol Hudson
Was most memorable.
Surely he gave 100% on a sweltering day.
 He was not best of show,
Yet he reminded me of the many others
Interviewing for jobs,
Working on marriages,
Trying to fix family cars,
Saving for houses,
Playing for scouts,
Fighting for life
 Who may, or may not
Be best of show,
Yet, have reasons to smile,
They gave 100%.  

What Will You Change About Your Practice?

What Will You Change About Your Practice?

I USED to think I was a Good Reader!

I used to think I was a pretty good (perhaps even voracious reader) but not any more.  After spending a good bit of time this summer immersed in the CCSS and going back to the core ideas that have shaped them, I'm starting to wonder just what kind of a reader I really am!

I stumbled on this site, Adler and VanDoren's recommended reading list the other day.  They suggest that the following list is "'worth your while."  I've got a lot of reading to do.  Perhaps I should start with REREADING the Scarlet Letter or maybe the Old Testament?  At least I know the plots!

Homer (9th century B.C.)Iliad. Odyssey
The Old Testament 
Aeschylus (c.525-456 B.C.)Tragedies
Sophocles (c.495-406)Tragedies
Herodotus (c.484-425)The Persian Wars
Euripides (c.485-406 B.C.)Tragedies (Medea, Hippolytus, The Bacchae)
Thucydides (c.460-400 B.C.)History of the Peloponnesian Wars
Hippocrates (c.460-377 B.C.)Medical Writings
Aristophanes (c.448-380 B.C.)Comedies (The Clouds, The Birds, The Frogs)
Plato (c.427-347 B.C.)Dialogues (The Republic, Symposium, Phaedo, Meno, Apology, Phaedrus, Protagoras, Gorgias, Sophist, Theaetetus)
Aristotle (384-270 B.C.)Works (Organum, Physics, Metaphysics, On the Soul, The Nichomachean Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric, Poetics)
Epicurus (c.341-270 B.C.)Letter to Herodotus, Letter to Menoeceus.
Euclid (fl. c.300 B.C.)Elements of Geometry
Archimedes (c.287-212 B.C.)Works (On the Equilibrium of Planes, On Floating Bodies, The Sand-Reckoner)
Apollonius of Perga (fl. c.240 B.C.)On Conic Sections
Cicero (106-43 B.C.)Works (Orations, On Friendship, On Old Age)
Lucretius (c.95-55 B.C.)On the Nature of Things
Virgil (70-19 B.C.)Works
Horace (65-8 B.C.)Works (Odes and Epodes, The Art of Poetry)
Livy (59 B.C.-A.D. 17)History of Rome
Ovid (43 B.C. - A.D. 17)Works (Metamorphoses)
Plutarch (c.45-120)Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, Moralia.
Tacitus (c. 55-117)Histories, Annals, Agricola, Germania.
Nicomachus of Gerasa (fl. c.100 A.D.)Introduction to Arithemetic
Epictetus (c.60-120)Discourses, Encheiridion (Handbook)
Ptolemy (c.100-178)Almagest
Lucian (c.120-190)Works (The way to Write History, The True History, The Sale of Creeds)
Marcus Aurelius (121-180)Meditations
Galen (c.130-200)On the Natural Facilities
The New Testament 
Plotinus (205-270)The Enneads.
St. Augustine (354-430)Works (On the Teacher, Confessions, The City of God, Christian Doctrine)
The Song of Roland (12th century?) 
The Nibelungenlied (13th century)(The Volsunga Saga is the Scandinavian version of the same legend)
The Saga of Burnt Njal 
St. Thomas Aquinas (c.1226-1274)Summa Theologica.
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)Works (The New Life, On Monarchy, The Divine Comedy)
Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1340-1400)Works (Troilus and Criseyde, Canterbury Tales)
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)Notebooks
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)The Prince, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy.
Desiderius Erasmus (c.1469-1536)The Praise of Folly
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres
Sir Thomas More (c.1478-1535)Utopia
Martin Luther (1483-1546)Three Treatises, Table-Talk.
Francois Rabelais (c.1495-1553)Gargantua and Pantagruel
John Calvin (1509-1564)Institutes of the Christian Religion
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)Essays
William Gilbert (1540-1603)On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies
Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)Don Quixote
Edmund Spenser c.1552-1599)Prothalamion, The Faerie Queene.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)Essays, Advancement of Learning, Novum Organum, New Atlantis.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)Works
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)The Starry Messenger, Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences.
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, Concerning the Harmonies of the World.
William Harvey (1578-1657)On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals, On the Circulation of the Blood, On the Generation of Animals.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)The Leviathan
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)Rules for the Direction of the Mind, Discourse on Method, Geometry, Meditations on First Philosophy. 
John Milton (1608-1674)Works (Minor Poems, Aeropagitica, Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes)
Moliere (1622-1673)Comedies (The Miser, The School for Wives, The Misanthrope, The Doctor in Spite of Himself, Tartuffe)
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)The Provincial Letters, Pensees, Scientific Treatises
Christian Huygens (1629-1695)Treatise on Light
Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677)Ethics
John Locke (1632-1704)Letter Concerning Toleration, Of Civil Government, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Thoughts Concerning Education.
Jean Baptiste Racine (1639-1699)Tragedies (Andromache, Phaedra)
Isaac Newton (1642-1727)Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Optics.
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716)Discourse on Metaphysics, New Essays Concerning Human Understanding, Monadology.
Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)Robinson Crusoe
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)A Tale of a Tub, Journal to Stella, Gulliver's Travels, a Modest Proposal.
William Congreve (1670-1729)The Way of the World
George Berkeley (1685-1753)Principles of Human Knowledge
Alexander Pope (1688-1744)Essay on Criticism, Rape of the Lock, Essay on Man
Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755)Persian Letters, Spirit of Laws
Voltaire (1694-1778)Letters on the English, Candide, Philosophical Dictionary.
Henry Fielding (1707-1754)Joseph Andrews, Tom Jones.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)The Vanity of Human Wishes, Dictionary, Rasselas, The Lives of the Poets (Essays on Milton and Pope)
David Hume (1711-1776)Treatise on Human Nature, Essays Moral and Political, An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)On the Origin of Inequality, On Political Economy, Emile, The Social Contract.
Laurence Sterne (1713-1790)Tristam Shandy, A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy
Adam Smith (1723-1790)The Theory of the Moral Sentiments, Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)Critique of Pure Reason, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, Critique of Practical Reason, The Science of Right, Critique of Judgment, Perpetual Peace
Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Autobiography.
James Boswell (1740-1795)Journal (London Journal), Life of Samuel Johnson.
Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794)Elements of Chemistry
John Jay (1745-1829), James Madison (1751-1836), Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804)Federalist Papers (Together with the Articles of Confederation, Constitution of the United States, and the Declaration of Independence)
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Theory of Fictions.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)Faust. Poetry and Truth.
Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768-1830)Analytical Theory of Heat
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)Phenomenology of Spirit, Philosophy of Right, Lectures on the Philosophy of History.
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)Poems (Lyrical Ballads, Lucy Poems, Sonnets, The Prelude)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) Poems (Kubla Khan), Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Biographia Literaria.
Jane Austen (1775-1817)Pride and Prejudice, Emma.
Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831)On War
Stendahl (1783-1842)The Red and the Black, The Charterhouse of Parma, On Love.
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)Don Juan
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)Studies in Pessimism
Michael Faraday (1791-1867)Chemical History of a Candle, Experimental Researches in Electricity
Charles Lyell (1797-1875)Principles of Geology
Auguste Comte (1798-1857)The Positive Philosophy
Honore de Balzac (1799-1850)Pere Goriot, Eugenie Grandet.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)Representative Men, Essays, Journal.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)The Scarlet Letter
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)Democracy in America
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)A System of Logic, On Liberty, Representative Government, Utilitarianism, The Subjection of Women, Autobiography.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)The Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, Autobiography.
Charles Dickens (1812-1870)Works (Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, Hard Times)
Claude Bernard (1813-1878)Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)Civil Disobedience, Walden.
Karl Marx (1818-1883)Capital (Together with Communist Manifesto)
George Eliot (1819-1880)Adam Bede, Middlemarch.
Herman Melville (1819-1881)Moby Dick, Billy Budd.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov.
Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)Madame Bovary, Three Stories.
Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)Plays (Hedda Gabler, A Doll's House, The Wild Duck)
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)War and Peace, Anna Karenina, What is Art? Twenty-Three Tales.
Mark Twain (1835-1910)The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Mysterious Stranger.
William James (1842-1910)The Principles of Psychology, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Pragmatism, Essays in Radical Empiricism.
Henry James (1843-1916)The American, The Ambassadors.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, The Genealogy of Morals, The Will to Power.
Jules Henri Poincare (1854-1912)Science and Hypothesis, Science and Method.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)The Interpretation of Dreams, Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, Civilization and Its Discontents, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)Plays (Man and Superman, Major Barbara, Caesar and Cleopatra, Pygmalion, Saint Joan) Prefaces.
Max Planck (1858-1947)Origin and Development of the Quantum Theory, Where is Science Going? Scientific Autobiography.
Henri Bergson (1859-1941)Time and Free Will, Matter and Memory, Creative Evolution, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion.
John Dewey (1859-1952)How We Think, Democracy and Education, Experience and Nature; Logic, the Theory of Inquiry.
Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947)An Introduction to Mathematics, Science and the Modern World, The Aims of Education and Other Essays, Adventures of Ideas.
George Santayana (1863-1952)The Life of Reason, Skepticism and Animal Faith, Persons and Places.
Nikolai Lenin (1870-1924)The State and Revolution
Marcel Proust (1871-1922)Remembrance of Things Past
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)The Problems of Philosophy, The Analysis of Mind, An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth, Human Knowledge; Its Scope and Limits.
Thomas Mann (1875-1955)The Magic Mountain, Joseph and His Brothers
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)The Meaning of Relativity, On the Method of Theoretical Physics, The Evolution of Physics (with L. Infeld)
James Joyce (1882-1941)"The Dead" in Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses.
Jacques Maritain (1882-1973)Art and Scholasticism, The Degrees of Knowledge, The Rights of Man and Natural Law, True Humanism.
Franz Kafka (1883-1924)The Trial, The Castle
Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975)A Study of History, Civilization on Trial
Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980)Nausea, No Exit, Being and Nothingness
Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (1918-)The First Circle, Cancer Ward.