Scheduling Wider Reading Around Literature Studies I Oxford Open Learning


    Scheduling Wider Reading Around Literature Studies

    Literature is a vital subject to study in schools. It improves skills around communication and articulation and helps students better understand other things such as politics, culture, and history. Sadly, in 2019, interest in A-Level English was declining in learning institutions. This was due to a push in the importance of STEM subjects. However, English Literature most certainly has its place in academia, and it’s important that more pupils feel an affinity with it.

    One way to do this is to not only complete one’s reading list but to also look beyond it. Every text inspires another, influencing generations of writers to come. If one text on your reading list doesn’t quite speak to you, another on the same subject matter might. Every novel or poem is often just one part of an important conversation. Here’s how to schedule wider reading around your literary studies.

    Consult Your Teachers

    Your teachers will have far more knowledge of the subject they are teaching you beyond the immediate course prospectus. If you tell them about your intentions to do some wider reading, they will likely try to help you. Questions to ask them could include:

    What texts and authors can you recommend to me for further research?
    Are there any themes and ideas between texts I should look out for?
    Do you think there are any critiques on these texts that are worth analysing?
    How much time should I spend on wider reading?

    Ideally, your teachers will be able to give you something of a framework to operate within as you conduct your wider reading. Your efforts will be more informed, and your schedule will be more sustainable so as not to compromise time spent on your other studies.

    Don’t Shy Away From Skim Reading Literature

    The purpose of wider reading isn’t always to dive head first into new books and get lost within them immediately. Your study time is limited whether in school or at home, so you need to make sure that what you’re reading is of quality and resonates with you as quickly as possible.

    There’s no shame in a quick skim read before adding wider reading materials to your list. Check the blurb, contents and index pages for relevant topics, phrases, and words, and even check the reviews online to ensure this text speaks to you.

    A great piece of literature will pull you in within mere moments. If possible, avoid any book that takes a while to get going unless your teacher strongly recommends it. Remember again, your time is valuable, and wider reading is extra, if enjoyable, work. Keep that in mind as you proceed, and be picky with your reading.

    In addition, remember that you don’t always need to read every text cover to cover. Just a chapter or two may complement your studies. It could even be less than that, with the odd extract or quote applying to what you’re already learning. Have an open mind as you go forward, and try not to misjudge how much wider reading you might need to do.

    Read With Noble Goals

    Some students see reading as something of a passive, obligatory chore. Everyone can feel this way if they’re reading a text they’re not particularly enthused about. If you’re going to do some wider reading, it will clearly help to do so around a subject that genuinely intrigues you.

    Some schools launched a book drive to engage their pupils more with racial diversity, for example. The conversation around representation is more alive than ever today. Many young people are passionate about equality, too, so immersing yourself in these stories could be a great way to ignite your interest and get you reading more vividly. Great literature can be powerful and influential. It can even inform parts of your character and help you examine the world around you differently. Keep that in mind as you fine-tune your reading list.

    How does all of this help scheduling? Well, it’s better to read one book you’re enthusiastic about than to have several queued up that you’ll plod through. You’re very busy during GCSEs and A-Levels, so it’s important to use your time effectively and get the most out of your wider reading.

    Attend / Start A Book Club

    If you can find one, it could be a good idea to join a book club. If you can immerse yourself in a setting with like-minded individuals, it can give your motivation for reading a bit of a kick. After all, knowing that you’ll need to discuss your wider reading experiences in detail with others may give you the push you need. You’ll be more inclined to schedule your wider reading and also work through your reading list.

    Of course, discussing your texts can make the reading process a lot more enjoyable too. Others in the book club may present new ways of looking at the text. Perhaps your more obscure ideas will draw interest and encouragement from others as well. These discussions may also fast-track your journey to other areas of research and thought on the texts you read, saving you time.

    Being part of a reading community can lead you all to adopt a group schedule of wider reading. That way, you can teamwork in these aspects of your life, leaving you with less pressure to manage everything alone.

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    I'm a freelance copywriter with an undergraduate degree in English Literature. I've written for many different outlets, including but not limited to marketing agencies, graduate recruitment websites, and online training companies. I've even interviewed a few famous actors for student and arts blogs too! Covering a wide span of material has been incredibly rewarding, as I get to turn my experiences in the arts, education and careers into helpful advice. I sincerely hope you'll find something to your liking here!