Ms Gutulan, Head of English has just found a really useful blog post on The English and Media Centre entitled:
Written by Kate Oliver it suggests ways of preparing Y9 students for the 19th Century novel aspect of GCSE. She concludes:
A working theory… Might an enjoyable experience of reading books which are relevant in the broadest sense be a great way to prepare KS3 for their GCSE novel?
With this in mind, we have put together a booklist which could be used to guide students towards some independent reading. The list starts with suggestions focused on the two most commonly taught 19th-century novels (A Christmas Carol and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde). This is followed by a short list of modern books set in Victorian times to help with contextual knowledge as well as suggestions for good ‘first classics’ to get students used to Victorian style and vocabulary, or have a first taste of the author they will study later.
It’s a varied book list and I like the inclusion of modern books set in Victorian times – The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge is a thrilling read – very atmospheric and evocative of the period with a great plot. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a fantastic book which is likely to appeal to students as it is set in the present and has an immediacy and honesty which is compelling. It ‘follows Junior a teenager who leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.’ It has been included because it explores ‘identity and peer pressure in diary form’. It would be a perfect starting point for students who are reluctant to read or don’t read much at all.
See also Post exam reading suggestions from IB students who have already finished their final exams!