Author: Beth

Do you do ‘200 word Challenges’ in English lessons? Here’s what they’re for…

English teachingGCSE English200 word challengescreative writingexam skillsnon-fictionwriting

Lots of schools started doing 200-word challenges as a quick way to sharpen up GCSE students’ writing skills. I’ve noticed, in working as a tutor, however, that not all students know why they’re doing them. If that’s you, read on – this is what they can help you achieve. They help remind you to use ….  Read More

Reading guilt


I’ve struggled with reading recently. In lockdown, when I should have been able to give my TBR pile a good bashing, I’ve barely read anything, discarding several things after not being able to get started properly. I’m not naming them, because it’s definitely me, not them. Apparently, quite a lot of people have had similar ….  Read More

PC Language: a ‘change’ and ‘diversity’ topic

A Level Eng LangEnglish teachingchangediversitygenderlanguagePC languageprescriptivismstandardisationtheorytopics

PC (or ‘politically correct’) language is a topic in English Language A Level that rather nicely illustrates how artificial it is to separate ideas into topics like ‘change’ and ‘diversity’. But, of course, we have to draw lines for the purposes of curriculum organisation. What this actually means for you as a student (or a ….  Read More

Four book covers and accompanying blurbs, recommending titles for fans of TV show The Big Bang Theory.

Three ways to sneak Reading for Pleasure into the KS4 classroom

English teachingGCSE Englishpromoting readingreadingreading for pleasureYAYA feature

I think (hope?) many of us can agree that GCSE set text lists do not inherently encourage students to become readers. By exposing young teenagers to  books deemed ‘classics’ or ‘great’ and requiring detailed analysis, we often in fact risk putting them off reading. This is, unfortunately, especially true for those not from a reading background ….  Read More

Recommended Resource (for English Lang A Level): Lexis Podcast

A Level Eng LangEnglish teachingindependent studylanguagenewspodcastresourcesreview

This excellent linguistics podcast started up this year and, at the time of posting, has had 8 episodes. It features four linguistics enthusiasts: Matthew Butler, Lisa Casey, Dan Clayton and Jacky Glancey, discussing language issues in the news and recent research. Most episodes have included an interview with an academic linguist about a specific topic ….  Read More

YA Review: Hideous Beauty by William Hussey

BookishReadingdiversityfriendsLGBT repreviewromancethrillerYA

genre(s): contemporary representation notes: LGBT (m/m) read it for: a great combination of a well-written gay romance and a thriller/mystery, bundled with realistic and easy-to-relate-to explorations of YA relationships with friends and family Dylan is forced to come out after his secret relationship with Ellis is exposed on social media, but to his surprise, everyone is ….  Read More

YA Book Feature: The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas (review plus teaching resources)

A Level Eng LangEnglish teachingGCSE Englishactivitiesautismcontemporarydisabilitydiversityexam practiceexam skillsgenderKS3neurodiversitynon-fictionown voicesreadingrepresentationresourceswritingYA feature

Age Range: 12+ (according to publisher’s website; I would happily use this throughout the secondary school – plenty to engage older teens, nothing ‘unsuitable’ for yr7/8, although they will be less interested in the romance aspects) Themes: family, friends, being different, romance Narrative style and genre: Strong first-person narration plants you firmly in Grace’s world and ….  Read More