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English Literature lessons are more than just glorified book club sessions. They provide students with an opportunity to learn about various events throughout history, develop their sense of cultural awareness and explore (and debate) different theories and viewpoints. ‘Of Mice and Men’, for example, which is widely explored in UK curriculums, explores the American Dream, as well as themes such as companionship and loneliness. I have teamed up with an international school in the UK to discuss the importance of English Literature in education in further detail below.
One of the biggest benefits of English Literature is that it helps children with their critical thinking skills. Children are encouraged to combine their existing knowledge and opinions with the themes explored in a literary text to debate their opinions and come up with conclusions about what the author has achieved or portrayed. Debating helps with their public speaking skills, which in turn increases their confidence, while also allowing them to analyse various viewpoints and information.
More so for younger students, literature is fantastic for promoting concentration skills because it involved long periods of sitting in one place and focussing on one thing. The ability to concentrate will serve them well throughout their education and long into adulthood.
Many novels explore themes such as good versus evil, courage and perseverance, coming of age and love. As a result, they provide opportunities for students to explore various moral values, which is important for their personal development.
Vocabulary & General Language Skills
Reading is undeniably great for helping children develop their vocabulary, as well as their spelling and grammar skills and ability to form logical sentences. Not only does this help them with their written communication skills, but also with their verbal communication as well. As you probably already know, English is the most widely used language across the world, so being able to coherently speak, write and read will provide your child with various opportunities as they grow up.
As mentioned briefly above, literature can help children with their historical knowledge. Classic novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Great Expectations encourage children to learn about what was happening at the time in which the texts were written, such as how women were treated, for example.
So, with all the transferrable skills discussed above, in addition to things like independent research, essay writing and the ability to develop a persuasive argument, there’s no denying that English Literature in education is hugely beneficial to students and shouldn’t be overlooked.
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