Preparation of Instructional Materials for Teaching Literature

  • One of the main reasons why literature is an important part of learning is that it offers a bountiful and extremely varied body of written material which is important in learning fundamental human issues.
  • its relevance moves with the passing of time.
  • literature is “authentic” material.
  • literature enriches cultural awareness. In most cases, language learners get a better understating of the culture in the language they are trying to learn through literature. A reader may discover the inner thoughts, feelings, customs of a certain group of people, thus giving him/her a better understanding of the language.
  • literature provides language enrichment.
  • Literature helps personal enrichment. Engaging imaginatively with literature enables learners to shift the focus of their attention beyond the more mechanical aspects of language learning.

The first step in teaching literature is to choose the materials to teach, including the literary texts for study. The preparation of instructional materials will depend on the literary texts chosen for the study.

  • Suitability of literary texts to students always depends on the different groups of students, their needs, interests, cultural background and language level.
  • Personal involvement, however, should always be the goal of a literature classroom.
  • Strong, personal, and positive reactions are needed in the literature classroom.

In teaching literature, the aim is to maintain interest and involvement by using a variety of student-centered activities.

  • In devising activities for integrating language and literature teachers must remember that learning involves as many of the students’ faculties as possible.
  • Teachers should try to exploit as fully as possible the emotional dimension that is a very integral part of literature.
  • Helping students explore their own responses to literature could be achieved through the different instructional materials prepared for classroom teaching.
  • One of the principles which influence the classroom approach to literature is that of using the target language with a range of activities chosen.
  • To integrate the teaching of language and literature that aims to foster language learning the teacher should never forget that literature can stand on its own by giving it proper time inside the classroom.

For students who are about to explore the unknown territory of a new literary text, the first encounter may be crucial. First impressions can color their feelings about the whole enterprise they find themselves engaged in. They are likely to be approaching the experience with a mixture of curiosity, excitement, and apprehension. The teacher’s role must be to play up the sense of adventure while providing a supportive atmosphere that will be reassuring to the students. The first imperative is usually to try and draw the learners quickly “into” the text so that they find it interesting and want to continue reading it on their own. Next, students need to be convinced that the task ahead is not an impossible task. Suggested activities and instructional materials for first encounters:

  1. Talking about the title and cover design
    • The teacher sets the scene and where students’ curiosity by showing them an intriguing cover design and asking them to speculate about the book and its story.
  2. Using Questionnaires
    • Students are given questionnaires to fill in. Questions are focused on the text studied.
  3. Making a Biographical montage
    • The teacher collects some photos, objects, or anything which is relevant to the author’s life. These materials/objects are mounted on to a larger piece of card. The students then are invited to speculate the meaning of the items in the montage.
  4. Continuing the Storyline
    • Having read the first section of a text, students are asked to study a range of possible continuations of a story line. Then they choose the one they consider the author would have used.
  5. Comparing beginning
    • The teacher takes three or four opening paragraphs from novels or short stories with fairly similar beginnings, and asks the students to respond to the contrasts.
  6. Writing Chapter
    • Students are asked to write the paragraphs that come immediately before the first section of the work which they have just encountered.

The tasks in maintaining momentum can be used at any point in a literary work and can be applied to the various genres. This part of literary learning allows the students to understand, enjoy and appreciate the literary work. It is in this situation that a mixture of class activities and home reading can be used. Suggested Activities and instructional materials for maintaining momentum

  1. Question worksheet leading to pair work in class
    • Half of the class is given one set of questions relating to the passage set as home reading, the other half, another set.
  2. Complete the sentence.
    • This worksheet could be used as a take-home activity. This is a take-off from the regular Q and A.
  3. True or False
    • This worksheet asks the students to answer true or false on certain concepts.
  4. Summaries with gaps
    • The most straightforward type of summary exercise is the gapped summary. This helps readers by providing them with an almost complete and simply phrased summary. The gaps are usually keywords or expressions, which only a reading of the appropriate passage can reveal.
  5. Summaries with incomplete sentences
    • A slightly more challenging variant consists of a summary with incomplete sentences.
  6. Summary comparison
    • The teacher writes two summaries of a section to be read at home. Differences between the summaries can be “fine-tuned” according to the level of the group. At the simplest level, one of the summaries omits certain key points; at a more difficult level, both summaries are fairly accurate but one may contain incorrect inference or interpretation.
  7. Jumbled events
    • The students are given a list of jumbled events. They will simply rearrange the events.
  8. Choosing an interpretation
    • The students are given a series of different interpretations of events in the passage they are reading.
  9. Snowball activities
    • These are activities which continue and are added to progressively, as students read through a long work. These activities help maintain an overview of an entire book, provide a valuable aid to memory, and reduce a lengthy text to manageable proportions.


      1. Retelling a story
      2. Wall charts and other visual displays
      3. Summaries
      4. Montage
      5. Graphic representation
      6. Continuing predictions
      7. Writing ongoing diaries

The activities for this part of the literary discussion in the classroom will help encourage the students to explore and express their own responses to the literary work. Suggested activities for maintaining highlights:

  1. thought bubbles
    • The task for this activity is very simple: students are asked to write the ‘inner’ dialogue that parallels the original dialogue.
  2. poems
    • The aim is to crystalline a personal, felt response to a literary situation.
  3. using authentic formats
    • These are non-literary formats that can be imported into the context of the literary work and used to spur writing about it.
  4. newspaper articles
    • A newspaper article or feature is to be written about the highlight scene chosen. Students are shown samples of genuine newspaper articles, if possible from more than one type of publication.
  5. oral activities
    • These are activities highlighting the lines/ dialogues that are good for oral reading.


      1. mini reading aloud
      2. poetry reading
      3. choral reading
      4. oral summaries

This part of classroom literary learning keeps each students’ own sense of the literary work alive. Suggested activities for Endings:

  1. role plays
    • The context provided by works of literature facilitates the creation of role-play situations. This activity allows the students to work among themselves.
  2. cover designs
    • Asking the students to prepare a paperback cover of a book is to see how they are eliciting and crystallizing their overall response to the text they are reading.
  3. writing a blurb for the back cover
    • As preparation for this activity, the teacher reads out the cover blurb of selected novels. This activity aims to see if the students can come up with a distinct blurb for a particular literary work.
  4. short writing tasks
    • These activities test the ability of the students to use language in written activities.

      1. letters
      2. essays
      3. newspaper articles
      4. journal