When you’re trying to get your child to engage with their GCSE English set text, it can be hugely beneficial to look beyond the source material itself and apply the same kinds of questions you’ve been asking about the text to other mediums and works.
Here are just a few resources you can use to strengthen your child’s skills.
Films and TV
Even the most ardent of bookworms will often prefer sitting in front of the TV instead of slogging through their set text. Luckily enough, you can use that to your advantage. TV shows and films also contain characters, plots, and themes, so try looking at some past papers or sample essay questions to see if you can rework them around a favoured show or film. Questions examining the conflicts certain characters bring or the themes they represent can be excellent ways to get your child to engage their skills away from the set text.
Though you may often wish the opposite to be true, newspaper articles are factual rather than fictional. However, you can still analyse their language in the same way you’d look at the language employed in a work of literature. Try asking your child how the writer in question makes use of emotional language, statistics, tone, and complexity in order to present their case. Doing so will demonstrate the way that words can be used in the real world to alter people’s opinions, and this knowledge can then be fruitfully transferred back to their literature revision.
Works by the Same Author
If your child happens to be particularly interesting in literature, it can be a great idea to pick up some works by the same author they are studying. Analysing the way themes and language use changes between works by the same author can provide an invaluable look into the way that author writes, and it’s always going to impress examiners when further works can be drawn upon. In rare cases, an author will only have produced a single novel, but you should still be able to find articles they have written concerning literature.