Read along with your child: English literature GCSE
We have had several requests from parents and carers to publish the list of set texts for English literature GCSE. Reading along with your child and discussing what you think of the stories, characters and messages of fictional texts is one of the best ways to give them a head start in their GCSE studies. We think you will find them just as entertaining as your children will.
Pupils are introduced to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s called a classic for a reason – it pretty much invented the modern version of ‘Christmas’.
Because it is out of copyright there are many versions available online for free and print versions are inexpensively priced in bookstores.
We also recommend the numerous film adaptations:
The 2009 motion-captured version is the most faithful to the source text (the opening is as creepy as Dickens’ text is) but we also have a soft-spot for the Muppets’ take on the tale.
Watching the 2017 film The Man Who Invented Christmas (which tells the story of how Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol) would be useful for pupils to get to grips with context.
Pupils also begin to read (and watch performances of) Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Again, there are many adaptations on screen: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/03/20/retellings-of-romeo-and-juliet-ranked/?utm_term=.538df5629156
In terms of poetry, we choose the Conflict cluster of the Edexcel poetry anthology. The 15 poems range from the Romantic-era (Wordsworth, Blake, Byron) to the Victorians (Tennyson, Rossetti, Hardy) and contemporary classics (Levertov, Zephaniah). The anthology is available to download for free (Conflict cluster is page 23 onwards):
Years 10 and 11
Pupils will study the texts listed in the Year 9 section above, with the addition of Blood Brothers. Willy Russell’s hilarious and heart-breaking play is often performed so you might want to keep looking for performances at our many local theatres.