Date of Award

Summer 1933

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Today there is, perhaps, no pastime so generally engaged in as that of reading. Of one thing we may be certain and that is that practically all our students are going to read in their leisure hours. They are going to read books, newspapers, and magazines. What kind of reading they are going to choose will depend to a large extent upon the reading habits they have formed in youth. Much of the reading that is being done by students is of an undesirable type in a surprisingly large number of cases. Vigorous action is needed to arouse Catholic school authorities and teachers to the urgent need or providing suitable reading for high school students. Reading is not to be considered in and for itself. We must use judgement in the selection of reading material. To spend hours over illustrated magazines, Sunday newspapers, and novels, merely for passing amusement and for satisfying morbid curiosity, is profitless and even dangerous pastime. Reading should be looked upon as a powerful means of forming character, in the words of Epictetus, "for giving us men and women armed with reason, braced by knowledge, clothed with steadfastness and courage, and inspired by that public spirit and public virtue which are the brightest ornaments of the minds of men." 1. Warner, C.D. (ed.), Library of World's Best Literature, Vol. 9, p. 5503 We think of education today in terms of self-activity and experiences. Suggestion and wise guidance are taking the place of repression. As a result, the school seeks to stimulate and direct interests which the children wish to satisfy. It does this chiefly through the school library and its reading guidance program. It is true some few students are so well equipped with worthy interests and good reading habits that by the time they enter high school they need little direction, but the large majority of students do need guidance in the proper reading interests. This thesis deals with reading guidance in the Catholic high schools. The limited amount of definite information available on the Catholic high school library led the writer to circulate two questionnaires in an attempt to collect practical data. One questionnaire, answered by principals of Catholic high schools of various sizes, requested the principals to record the library facilities offered by the school. The other answered by students in our Catholic high schools, endeavored to ascertain the chief reading interests of the students. The replies were carefully analyzed by the writer and used as a basis for statements in this thesis. They revealed the great need of a definite reading guidance program. This thesis has been written with the sincere purpose of making a helpful contribution to the movement for "better libraries in our Catholic high schools." A carefully selected and graded reading list for Catholic high schools, including the works of Catholic authors as well as others, has been appended with the hope that this may be of some assistance in the reading guidance of our Catholic high school students.