Using Literature in the Classroom

In today’s technology-filled world, where 140 character limits are the norm, is there any place for long, old-fashioned novels in the classroom?

There are a number of reasons why English teachers are turning back to literature as a way to develop students’ reading skill:

  • As most English language literature is written for native speakers, it prepares learners for the types of language they will have to read and understand in the real world.
  • It encourages students to communicate with others, by sharing their thoughts and feelings about the story.
  • Students engage with the attitudes and opinions expressed by the author or the characters. This helps students to develop their sense of self, their moral code, and their understanding of the world.
  • Exposure to non-standard forms of English (as is often found in novels) can help students to recognize norms and patterns.
  • Books written by popular authors will likely be more interesting and engaging than texts in language course books, no matter how much effort is put into writing them.
  • Literature is motivating, as finishing a book is a real achievement for language learners.

Most importantly, by fostering a love of reading from a young age, students become independent learners who, whenever they pick up a book to read for pleasure, are actually improving their language skills more than any homework task could.

On our young learner holiday courses at the British Council, we weave literature into a course which promotes a range of skills. The book we are using for our up-coming courses is ‘The BFG’ by Roald Dahl. His weird and fantastical novels are the perfect starting point for your child to explore the English language as well as develop a love of reading.

If you’d like to learn more about our holiday courses, please contact us at +60 (0)3 2723 7900