My daughter and I have started putting together book/ resource lists for her Year 8 academic year. And number 1 on her English Literature book list was Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice is normally covered as part of GCSE’s and my daughter is only going into year 8 but she loves classic stories and she had her heart set on using Pride and Prejudice as one of our set books this year so we are just going to give it a go. (By set book I mean a book that we read together, discuss themes and characters and then she does some activities, writes up summaries, answers questions on it).
When I mentioned that she was wanting to read Pride and Prejudice to the lovely people at Oxford University Press they kindly included one of their Literature Companions in their latest box of goodies. And I must admit I think it is so good that I am writing a post about even before we have started to use it. (I wanted to share about these Literacy Companions in case any of you are looking for English Literature resources to assist your kids – and I will write another post once we have actually used it).
First Impressions on opening the Literacy Companion book – clear layout, easy to read, informative, lots of ideas for activities for the kids, but mostly I really just found it so easy to get into (as soon as I opened it I actually ended up reading the first 3 chapters even though I was supposed to be working on something else).
To begin with I want to stress the Literature Companion is NOT the actual story. It is a book which you can use together with the story. You could choose to use it as you read the actual story or you could use it after you have finished reading the whole story.
It is broken down into 6 main sections
- Plot and Structure
- Skills and Practice
The Plot and Structure Chapter deals with the entire story and explains all key events as they happen. As with all the chapters they highlight key quotations (loved this) and have suggested activities scattered throughout the chapter. My daughter and I are planning on using the Plot and Structure pages as we read the actual story. So once we have read chapter 1 to 5 we will come back to the Companion book and read what they say about it and do the suggested activity.
Context. I consider this chapter essential to really understanding the story. You need to have an understanding about the Georgian times to actually appreciate things like women’s role in society and how it was different then compared to now, how marriage and social class was different even things like letters as a form of communication which is quite different compared to today’s world.
Characters. A good breakdown of the key characters in the story. With stories like this one the kids need to get to grips with the different characters, how they differ, their strengths and weaknesses and what certain quotes tell us about the individual characters. And this sections really helps with that individual character understanding.
Language. I must admit I am really glad this has been included because I am sure it is going to highlight some language concepts that I would never have thought about pointing out to my daughter.
Themes. A great way to wrap up the story is to work though this chapter because the different themes just bind it altogether. (After reading through the book I would recommend that you first look at the other chapters before you look at the themes chapter – for me the theme chapter makes more sense after reading through the other chapters.)
Skills and Practice. Lots of help and guidance with how the kids would tackle exam questions on this book. And examples of the types of questions you can expect. Even though she is not using this as prep work for her GCSE’s we are actually still going to go through the Skills and Practice section and attempt some of the questions together just because I think it is good practice and she actually really enjoys working on English Literature activities like this.
Although we have not started using this yet I must admit I am really glad to have found this range. I think having a resource like this when the kids are studying literature is invaluable. I can read it before to make sure I fully understand all the different nuances and then I can work though it step by step with my daughter. It just helps to focus our thoughts and by using this book I can ensure we cover all key points and don’t miss anything out.
For £8.99 I think getting a Literature Companion for the set books that we read just makes sense and I will get more of these in future. (For the Full range of the different literature companions look here – Oxford Literature Companions).
You can also buy the Oxford Literature Companions directly from Amazon – Oxford Literature Companions: Pride and Prejudice
Admin – As I mentioned above we were sent some books from Oxford University Press – it is entirely up to us which ones we use, how we use them and which ones I choose to include in any posts. All opinions expressed are mine.
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