English Literature is a big one for us, my daughter really enjoys it and I let her have quite a big role in deciding what we cover each year. For some my list may appear a bit long but it is what works for my daughter (we normally chooses 2 books to cover in detail for each term and then we will read others independently and discuss them together).
Shakespeare. This year we are planning on tackling Macbeth. So to start with I am sticking with the RSC School Shakespeare book. We already have two of the books in this series and my daughter really enjoys the format (we already have Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and I must confess I find them really easy to use because all the extra bits of information that they include really guide you through the text. She also used one the Oxford Literature Companions this past year (for Pride and Prejudice) and she has already asked for the Macbeth version.
Then I do have a Twinkl membership and I really like their English Literature section so I have already been on and downloaded the full set of Macbeth activities that they have (it is actually under their GCSE literature). Now complete disclosure we don’t tend to use the full set, I go through and find lessons or activities that I think we will enjoy. But I find downloading the full set helps me as I can read through it and pick out what I want. I really like this Macbeth revision guide that they have.
Then War literature. This is probably going to be a big one for us this year because we are covering World War 1 and World War 2. I have a list of books that I would like us to cover, some my daughter will read by herself, some may be audio books and some we will do as units of work (what I mean by that is we read it together and do some activities based on the book). Okay so these are our thoughts (they may change as we get into the war theme).
World War 1 books (we will probably do two world war 1 books as units of work)
Soldier Dog – (We had actually planned on doing this one in her year 8 but we ended up changing our mind and worked through an extra Victorian themed book and 2 other Gill Lewis books instead). So I have already read it myself and know we will use it for one of our units that we will do together with my youngest (we will read the book together and then the kids will do some activities from the Free to download unit from Oxford University Press but I will adjust the activities slightly for my youngest and possibly extend a few of the activities for my daughter). In fact that is one of the reason I like these sets I find they are a good guide but I also find I can easily adjust activities to suit two kids of different ages.
Private Peaceful – is one of those books that I would really like to read with my daughter so we can talk about why an army would kill a soldier for cowardice. Twinkl have a few activities on their site which look interesting including chapter questions which are always handy.
When the Guns Fall Silent – Not sure if this will be the 2nd unit we do or if Private Peaceful is the 2nd unit. But regardless it is a book I would like us to read and there is a Free to download set of lesson plans and activities on the Oxford University Press site.
War Horse – We actually have an audio book for this one so it will probably be a case of my daughter listens to it and watches the movie and then we discuss. We might even try and use the National Theatre Playscript just for a bit of fun but we will do a full unit on it (possibly write a review of the movie and comparison of the book vs movie).
The Flambards series is set around the First World War and is a series I think my daughter will enjoy reading but it will be one she reads by herself.
World War 2 books (not sure if we do 1 or 2 books as units yet)
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – I think we will do this one as a unit using the Free to download set from the Oxford University Press site.
An Elephant in the Garden – we have the audio book for this and a friend has lent us their book so it is probably going to be one that we listen to and then my daughter can read it herself.
Carrie’s War – we have actually just taken out a copy from our local library and my daughter is about to start reading it. I think this will be one she reads by herself.
I know I should include the Diary of Anne Frank here but my daughter has actually already read it, so that is why it is not on our list for this year.
Okay so those are the books we currently have on our “war” list. Now linked in with these books and the “book units” that we will do we are also going to use our War Anthology book that I have. I am already so impressed by this book. It has a number of extracts from the books that I want to read and then there are some really interesting activities based on these extracts (I really like how varied the activities are). This book deals with a war theme so it includes works from a number of different wars but we are going to focus on the works that deal with World War 1 and World War 2. And there is also a fantastic poetry section which I am really happy about and can’t wait to use.
But we are not done yet. She also wants to do what she calls a more Classic book but we have not selected which one just yet, possibly An Inspector Calls or Frankenstein but honestly we have spent so much time thinking about which Shakespeare play and which War books to cover that we need to give it a bit more thought.
Our book lists are one of those things that tend to have a life of their own and as the year progresses we often make changes but I feel like this is a good starting point for us.
Admin – I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.