Hmm. Many schools around here, expecially 7-12th grades (ages 13 -18,) have required reading as part of their English program syllabi. I've always appreciated the classics, but many students would never have picked up Melville, Shelley, Stoker, Huxley, etc., if they weren't required. My problem with required reading lists is that they often omit earlier works such as Chaucer, Spenser, Milton (although as I mentioned Milton was on one of my lists,) Beowulf, etc.
"You fought with Captain Reynolds in the war?"
"I fought with a lot of people in the war."
"And your husband?"
"I fight with him sometimes, too."