Wider reading for A Level English Literature: 2: Reading in different genres

In today’s blog one of Oxford Home Schooling’s tutors takes another look at wider reading for A Level English Literature.

Wider reading for A Level English Literature: 2: Reading in different genres

Now that you’ve made a start on your wider reading remember that this is really going to help your coursework but it is absolutely vital for your AS exam. Now would be a good time to have a look at what you have ahead of you. Go to the exam board’s website www.aqa.org.uk and have a look at some of the past AS Literature papers and see the way that they are set out and the type of questions which you are asked.

You need to remember that for the first question on the AS paper there will be some key words which will direct you to one of those four vital areas:

  • Ideas of progress – industry and empire.
  • The position of women in Victorian society.
  • Social problems: urban poverty and the working class.
  • Evolving attitudes: culture, religion and science.

You will have been doing some wider reading in factual work to give you a flavour and understanding of Victorian life, but remember that in your answer to this first question you must give at least one example of relevant wider reading in each literary genre, missing one out will inevitably affect your mark. That means you need to look at poetry, prose and drama in each of the four important areas, so you will need to do quite a bit of research before you begin your detailed reading.

This all means that you need to sort out your timetable carefully, it doesn’t matter when you do your AS English Literature work but it is vital that you do the number of hours agreed with your tutor every week and that you devote some of this time to your wider reading. Please don’t think that you can leave your wider reading until the end of your course, that way lies disaster, I promise! Of course you could tell your tutor you are doing the agreed hours and then not do them, but why would you, you’re not hurting anyone except yourself. Why would you not want to do as well as you can, you know how important this qualification is!

Happy reading…

Anne Thomas


For more information about studying A Level English Literature or A Level English visit the Oxford Home Schooling website, or contact a Student Adviser.

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