Fifty Shades of Grey Challenge

Fifty-Shades-of-Grey-768While our younger readers are powering their way through the Harry Potter books, we decided to set a second challenge this year for 11th and 12th grade students: The Fifty Shades of Grey series.

Fifty Shades of Grey is a powerful and intense trilogy by author E.L. James. The series, while deemed controversial and inappropriate for teens by some critics, takes a deep look into the coming of age stories of contemporary adolescents, replete with their sexual awakenings.

The series is an international best seller, and has even been turned into a major motion picture by Hollywood.

Why the Fifty Shades Series

Although some would argue that Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t belong in a school, we at scvmontessori disagree. We believe that education follows from inspiration, and the fact is that the immense popularity of these books both in the US and Europe is evidence that teens are passionate about the subjects they contain.

Rather than hide from these works, we should embrace them. The subject matter is no different than that portrayed in many other classic works, from The Scarlet Letter to Pride and Prejudice to Ulysses.

The difference lies only in the fact that these novels are set in a contemporary setting, and have been popularized by the generation.

Focusing this year’s challenge on the Fifty Shades of Grey series will help us to have open and honest discussions with our 11th and 12th graders, as they come into adulthood and are dealing with the issues and complexities addressed in the novels.

There’s a great discussion around teaching controversial literature in this journal.

About the Challenge

This challenge is an extracurricular challenge, and is not a specific class assignment.

Students in the 11th and 12th grades are strongly encouraged to read this series during their holiday breaks. The challenge begins next week, with the advent of the Thanksgiving holiday, and ends with the return to school the first week of January.

There are no formal assignments or coursework dependent upon completion of the challenge, but we will have a program in early January to discuss opinions of the works, and how their themes can be applied to our students’ lives.

You can download the Fifty Shades of Grey audiobook free from, or click here to buy the series at Barnes and Noble.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *