Literature of course!

When we discuss the importance of literature in the classroom, we all inevitably wish we had more time for reading. The benefits and relevance of literary texts and stories have been widely discussed in academic papers as well as on this blog. However, a rightful complaint we often hear from teachers is that it is demanding enough to follow the course syllabus, let alone to prepare materials to include literary texts in our weekly learning programme.

Among several creative ideas (reading groups, book clubs, quizzes, games, and many other activities which can be found on this blog), one pratical solution for literature lovers is a course book which makes access to literature easy. Interesting course books with literary content have been published over the years, and the Helbling Languages 4-level course (beginner, elementary, pre-intermediate and intermediate) for young adults, SURE is a fresh addition with unique features which make storytelling and literature more accessible to both teens and young adults.

How does it work?

Dealing with literature at lower levels might be challenging for teens. SURE introduces the idea of reading for pleasure in the form of e-readers starting at beginner and elementary levels, and gradually adding activities which deal with cultural and literary topics. In the pre-intermediate-level course book, two engaging literary topics are introduced: Ten American classics with film adaptations, and the iconic Edgar Allan Poe and The Raven. There are also some project ideas to explore classic British authors. At intermediate level six literary themes with extracts are introduced with video documentaries and readings of the literary extracts.

E-readers on e-zone, the digital educational platform

SURE e-readers are original short stories by prize-winning author Martyn Hobbs. Each of the beautifully illustrated stories has been devised to be read in one sitting. The stories are linked to the language syllabus in the coursebook, but, of course, students can read and reread them whenever they like.

These short stories provide the opportunity for students to read a text of a certain depth with an element of continuity which gives them an authentic reading experience. The main aim is to stimulate reading for pleasure, reading seen as a fun activity in itself and not as an exercise in practising the language.

You will find the access code to the e-readers on e-zone in the inside cover of the course book.

Here are some sample screenshots from elementary-level e-reader The Sound of Silence, written by Martyn Hobbs and illustrated by Gabriella Giandelli. The original e-reader is interactive and includes full audio narration.

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Intermediate level: literature at your fingertips

Introducing literary topics is one of the main features of this level. However, most students find it easier to engage with and enjoy literary texts if they first encounter them in multimodal (audio, visual, textual) forms. Different modes of multimodal engagement is offered in this course book. You will find six fascinating and beautifully illustrated literary extracts with discussion, comprehension and vocabulary activities. You will also find three lively documentaries focusing on the stories behind the literature – including writers’ lives, their landscapes, historical context and cultural background plus three imaginatively realised readings of key literary texts, with video and music.

Here is an example of a double-spread with two literary themes and extracts.

Sample pages from the intermediate level SURE course book. © Helbling Languages

Sample pages from the intermediate level SURE course book. © Helbling Languages


About the authors of SURE

The authors of SURE are Julia Starr Keddle and Martyn Hobbs. Read this interview with them

About literature in the language classroom

Read our series on the topic and our interview with Alan Pulverness.

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