Who has not worked on readers and abridged and simplified books when teaching English or any other language?
They’re great. In my opinion the first goal is for our students to understand and enjoy and delight what they’re reading. The main point when reading a novel can be enjoying reading it. For that goal our students should be able to understand what they’re reading, and so they might have to look up some words in their dictionaries or online dictionaries. Or they could try to guess the meaning of new words from the context, which is good practice for them!
Moreover classics and other books bring about educating values: generosity, love, friendship, patriotism, endurance, honesty, sincerity, courage, magnanimity, professionalism… Those books foster kind of a school of values and virtues alike.
Besides they can be useful as assigned homework, but always taking into account our students also have other school subjects and probably other homework tasks to fulfill. As well at home the main goal could be reading and enjoying. On the next-day class the teacher could ask them what new words they have learned and how, opening up a nice discussion about learning strategies. Some students could so learn from their classmates, and from the teacher too. Literature is great! / Photo from: crystal-cruise-shore-excursion Luxe Travel