As well as introducing children to a variety of different texts, studying English Literature also equips them with a number of valuable transferable skills. It also gives them the opportunity to get lost in different worlds and perspectives for a while, which can help broaden their worldview. Here an independent college in London outlines some important benefits children get from studying English Literature.
Relaxation and entertainment
The importance of switching off from everyday life at times should not be underestimated as a way of ensuring good mental health. Reading and analysing novels or other texts may provide a welcome relief for children who find science and maths difficult, and they might find they’re more suited to a subject which allows alternative perspectives on things. Children can get lost in different scenery and use their imagination to visualise settings and characters; they’ll get so engrossed in the plots and story that they won’t be ruminating on something which happened in the past or worrying about an upcoming event, so it’s great for helping them stay in the moment.
Exposure to different cultures
As well as providing a glimpse into the past and helping children learn about history, they can read and learn about different cultures across the world. This can be the next best thing to physically travelling to another country, as they’ll be able to learn about other traditions and ways of life. This can help broaden children’s viewpoint and encourage understanding and tolerance toward others who are different to them.
Critical thinking skills
Through studying English Literature children learn to analyse things critically from their own viewpoint, taking into account any facts or evidence they’re aware of. This teaches them not to always take things at face value and to consider all the facts. They’ll engage in comprehension and writing exercises during which they’ll have to stop and really think about what they’re reading and the wider context of a text. Studying English Literature also develops children’s ability to think autonomously and develop confidence in their opinions and ideas.
The study of English Literature helps children develop important transferable skills which will stand them in good stead with future educational and career opportunities. Their writing skills will be developed through writing essays, as will their research and planning skills. They’ll learn to form a persuasive argument and express it in a clear and articulate way. They’ll probably also discuss their opinions on texts with their peers, which will increase their confidence in expressing their viewpoint and communicating with others, while also tolerating and respecting differing views. Children who study English Literature also learn to summarise complex information and pay attention to detail. All of these skills will benefit them throughout their life.
Language and vocabulary
Through studying different types of texts children are exposed to new vocabulary which they can absorb and reproduce in their writing. They’ll see how words and phrases can be used in alternative ways, and how language is structured in poems, novels and scripts. Children learn to communicate in different ways which can have a positive effect on other areas of their life.
Studying English Literature allows children to develop their reading skills, in particular their ability to consider context, make inferences, and separate fact from opinion. They develop their comprehension skills so they can better understand different texts and extract meaning from them, while they also learn to focus on reading one thing for an extended period of time.
The study of English Literature has multiple benefits for children and can provide a welcome contrast from studying more fact-based subjects such as science and maths.