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English Literature is a compulsory school subject until GCSE level and serves many benefits to a child’s overall education. It provides them with an opportunity to develop a range of important life skills that can be transferred to the rest of the curriculum and also be carried throughout life.

In addition, reading literature can be a source of entertainment and relaxation for many, and can act as a conversation prompt between those who share the same interests. An independent girls’ school in Hillingdon have shared the following information regarding the benefits of literature in education. 

mother reading to child

Literature and imagination

Literature is an opportunity for children to put their imaginations to the test while visualising characters and settings. It helps younger children in particular develop the ability to sit still and quietly for prolonged periods of time, which will help them throughout their academic journey. Sitting and reading with children really does have many advantages.

Literature and critical thinking

During lessons, children will be asked to think critically about several topics, from various different theoretical perspectives, like feminism or Marxism.

They will learn about different events throughout history and gain a stronger sense of cultural awareness, helping them become more knowledgeable and also more open-minded towards others.  As such, literature helps to promote an appreciation of diversity and respect for others, regardless of age, gender, race etc. 

Literature to help real-life situations

Many books, particularly those targeted at children, tackle real-life situations, which can help children learn how to deal with difficult situations themselves. Reading is an opportunity for them to explore various moral values, and they may start to learn what could potentially happen if they make poor moral choices.

Literature typically leaves room for personal interpretation, enabling students to form opinions of their own and act accordingly in real life.

What is English Literature?

English Literature is typically an essay-based subjects, as students will be asked to write about different texts, how they have shaped history and how they connect with one another.

Writing essays is an important and beneficial skill to have because it involves carrying out independent research to back up statements, use varied vocabulary and develop a strong line of argument.

As such, literature lessons help students with their spelling and grammar, their handwriting, and their ability to express themselves coherently. 

How can parents help?

Parents can help their children to appreciate literature by reading with them from a young age. You could create a cosy little reading corner somewhere in your home, equipped with a range of books by different authors, to encourage your child to read more frequently.

Trips to the library will also help because your child will be able to explore and pick out some stories of their own. Once they’ve finished a book, ask them what they liked or disliked about it.

Do they think they’ll read something else by the same author? Would they recommend the book to a friend?

This will encourage them to think about the story on a deeper level, rather than simply taking it at face value.

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