The other compelling reason for making The Hobbit first is that its probably the quintessential hero story. In fact, this is probably the only reason its studied in a high school course. The Hobbit begins with a small, unimportant hero who is pulled into a larger world by an older wizard, set up with mercenaries, and sent on a quest to kill a dragon and gain treasure. When you think about it, every other mythology story since then has been based off of this concept. While a hero going on a quest to kill a dragon is almost cliche at this point, the Hobbit's initial lack of powers is symbolic of any novice's plight, and the introduction of goblins, orcs, dwarves, elves, wizards, and humans provides a framework for the fantasy genre in all other areas. In other words, this story belongs at the beginning.
So welcome to Middle Earth! The reading begins tomorrow, as today we took some time to talk about the great, long history of the J.R.R. Tolkien and his ever impressive universe.