English Literature is one of the most interesting and wide ranging subjects available for your child to study. As English is the most widely used language in the world, knowledge of English literature is fundamental to developing an understanding of the world.
The English language is a remarkable thing with an almost infinite number of possible sentences. It is the language of many key points in history from the King James Bible (the most widely read book), to Shakespeare, the American Declaration of Independence and becoming the only ever language spoken on the moon.
Knowledge of literature will not only mean knowledge of novels but also theatre, journalism and poetry. Furthermore by understanding the writing of our language your child will come to learn about their own history and understand the way that language is not just created by us but also shapes our understanding of the world around us.
English literature is responsible for the largest number of Nobel prizes with 26 winners!
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, there are over 250,000 words in the English language (excluding technical and regional words)!
While it’s impossible to count how many books have been published in English, the British Library holds almost 14,000,000 books
As a legal deposit library, Cambridge University Library is entitled to a free copy of any book published in the UK and Ireland. While smaller than the British Library (it only holds 8 million books) it is one of the few libraries of its type in the world and receives around 80,000 books every year, not counting the donated books!
There are records of poetry as far back as 1700 BC but experts think that poetry was probably used even before anyone had the means to record it.
The world´s largest fine for an overdue library book is $345.14 (£203.29), the amount owed at two cents a day for the poetry book ‘Days and Deeds’ checked out of Kewanee Public Library, Illinois, USA in 1955. It was found 47 years later and returned to the library with a cheque for overdue fines!
Some practical points to check with a tutor are:
There are three examination boards accredited by Ofqual. These are:
AQA - One of the leading providers of GCSEs and A Levels. Used by most secondary schools and colleges in the UK.
Edexcel - Considered the UK’s largest awarding organisation, they offer both academic and vocational qualifications and testing to schools and colleges.
OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations) - Over 13,000 centres choose OCR for their A Levels and GCSEs.
GCSE – English Literature - GCSE normally takes 5 terms to complete and is usually studied full time at school or college.
AS Level (Advanced Subsidiary) and A Level (Advanced) qualifications focus on more traditional study skills. They generally take two years to complete full-time, however they are also available to study
Once A/AS Level is achieved there are many options open to continue to study English Literature. These are too numerous to mention. whatuni.com and ucas.ac.uk contain information on subjects available to you, where the degree can be studied and what qualification you will need to be accepted.
There is no minimum qualification required to tutor English Literature at home in the UK at present, however we would recommend you ask to see copies of qualifications held.
Studying English Literature will benefit your child in several ways. Through reading and studying literature a child is encouraged to use their imagination and critique set texts which requires skills such as analysis and critical thinking. This will also help their creative writing skills and vocabulary. Of course one of the key skills acquired from this subject is knowledge of literature itself! Being well read may give your child a real advantage in social and educational settings.
There are also many benefits to introducing your child to an English Literature tutor. By closing some of the holes in their learning you may enable them to catch up with, or creep ahead of, their peers, building their confidence and enabling them to enjoy the subject. Whether building a child’s confidence or assisting them with exam preparation, a tutor is your way of helping them gain control of their learning.
English actress, Kate Beckinsale (born July 26, 1973) famous for films such as ‘Pearl Harbour’, ’Underworld’ and ‘The Aviator’, studied French and Russian Literature at Oxford University.
American actor and screen writer Matt Damon (born October 8, 1970) studied English at Harvard University from 1988 to 1992 but did not graduate because he dropped out to pursue his acting career in Los Angeles.
Terence Alan Patrick Seán "Spike" Milligan KBE (1918 – 2002) was a comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor. He wrote and edited many books for adults including his account of his time serving during the Second World War, ‘Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall’.
He also was a writer of comical verse; much of his poetry was written for children, including ‘Silly Verse for Kids’ (1959) and ‘A Children's Treasury of Milligan: Classic Stories And Poems’ (1999).
Geri Halliwell (born August 6, 1972) got an A in her English A-Level and went on to study English Literature at college. She reportedly amassed a $30 million fortune during her last two years in the Spice Girls – so it just goes to show – you never know where English Literature might take you!
A Bit of Fry and Laurie - Using English as only they can!
Top tips on how to get your children reading - Celebrity dad Jeff Brazier joined forces with the National Literacy Trust to launch a campaign to try and help the four million children in Britain who don't own a book to start reading.
The Guardians new children's books website - This is a short video in which children tell us what they love about reading and books and what they want from a children’s book website.
The Guardian’s children's books - Find out about books for your child's age group.
From ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ to Bram Stoker's ‘Dracula’, a panel of experts from Puffin put together a list of the 70 best children's books as a guide for parents.
Children’s poetry - A free online poetry resource.
I chose English thanks to an excellent teacher at school, Mrs Nash. I liked reading books, but she drove me through the methodical process of thinking about a text, writing about it, revising my words, and building my paragraphs onto each other. She showed me that there is life in a poem, and that literature has a real place in the world. She also convinced me that, as a reader, I was necessary
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