· Myths, fairy tales and religious texts all have had a strong influence over English literature and many children’s books and young adult novels deal with similar themes and concepts; this can be an easy way to gain the kind of contextual knowledge that can really help take their understanding of texts they study at school to a deeper level.
· Encourage your child to read a wide range of fiction based on what they have enjoyed reading previously or what their interests are. At school they will read pre 1914 literature, Shakespeare plays and world literature as well as short stories, dramas and poetry. Being exposed to these regularly and in a way that feels comfortable to them will help them to access these texts more easily in an educational context. There are many adaptations and versions of classic texts that can be easier to access than the originals and help to build confidence.
· Encourage reading of non-fiction. This is examined at both GCSE and A-Level English and is an area where many young people do not read as widely.
· Close analysis is a key skill at this age in English (and many other subjects) and this can be easily practised through looking closely at extracts from the texts that they do enjoy and being more thoughtful about the ways that these texts do use language.
· For young people who are studying for exams and may feel overwhelmed by the amount of revision they have to do, English can be revised alongside other subjects by reading the material for the subject (e.g a page of a textbook) and by analysing it as they would a literary text.
· Most importantly, make time in the day for reading that they enjoy. At times when they are under particular academic strain, they might prefer to read simpler or shorter texts, but there should definitely be time made in the day for relaxation-and reading has been proven to reduce symptoms of stress!