Homework AS/A Level

Wider Reading For English Language A Level

For the English Language course, it is vital that you read as widely as possible in as many different genres as possible.  This could include (but is not limited to) magazine or newspaper articles, web pages, blogs, poetry, extracts from novels or plays, speeches, recipes and instructions.

You should be keeping a scrapbook or folder of a range of different texts that you have read.  It is important that you annotate these texts to show your use of A level terminology and make links to purpose, audience, genre, meanings and representations.  Your texts could also relate to the key areas of occupation, dialect, social groups and gender that you study at A level.


Wider Reading For English Language and Literature Combined A Level

For the English Language and Literature Combined A level. you should also be reading as widely as possible in a range of different genres.  Your reading should also cover texts that have been produced for different audiences and purposes.  See the wider reading for English Language AS level (above) for further suggestions relating to this.  

Part of the course focuses on the ways in which writers and speakers present narratives about places.  Therefore, your wider reading should focus on reading a wide range of narrative genres.  You should consider why people tell stories about places and how writers and speakers present places, societies, people and events. 

You will need to look at different modes, as well as published texts, and practise analysing how language choices help to shape the representations of a place and different perspectives.


Wider Reading For English Literature A Level

As well as your usual Literature homework set by your class teacher, it is essential that you frequently complete wider reading and independent study.  The wider reading is vital for success in the final examinations.  You will need to refer in detail to the texts that you have read, so it is important to keep a log of your reading with key information and quotations.

Further ideas for wider reading can be found on the AQA website.


Possible wider reading texts for students of Literature:

Prose Fiction:

  • Margaret Atwood: 'The Handmaid's Tale;
  • Angela Carter: 'Wise Children';
  • Kiran Desai: 'Hullaballoo in the Guava Orchard';
  • Roddy Doyle: 'The Woman Who Wlked into Doors';
  • Michael Frayn: 'Spies';
  • David Guterson: 'Snow Falling on Cedars';
  • Jackie Kay: 'Trumpet';
  • Toni Morrison: 'Beloved';
  • D.B.C. Pierre: 'Vernon God Little';
  • Alice Walker: 'The Color Purple';
  • Irvine Welsh: ‘Trainspotting’;
  • Kathryn Stockett: ‘The Help’;
  • Arundhati Roy: ‘The God of Small Things’;
  • Radclyffe Hall: ‘The Well of Loneliness’.

Prose Non-Fiction:

  • Maya Angelou: Autobiography, especially ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’;
  • Nelson Mandela: ‘Long Walk to Freedom’;
  • Silvia Calamati: ‘Women’s Stories from the North of Ireland’;
  • Malcolm X: ‘Malcolm X Talks to Young People’;
  • Salman Rushdie: ‘The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey’;
  • David Beresford: ‘Ten Men Dead: The Story of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike’;
  • Adhaf Soueif: ‘Mezzaterra-Fragments from the Common Ground’;
  • Amrit Wilson: ‘Dreams, Questions, Struggles South Asian Women in Britain’;
  • Dolly A. McPherson: ‘Order out of Chaos: The Autobiographical Works of Maya Angelou’;
  • Jeremy Hawthorn: ‘The British Working Class Novel in the Twentieth Century.


  • Caryl Churchill: ‘Top Girls’ and all other plays;
  • Brian Friel: ‘Making History’;
  • Wole Soyinka: ‘Death and the King’s Horseman’;
  • Arthur Miller: ‘Death of a Salesman’;
  • Tennessee Williams: ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’;
  • Tony Kushner: ‘Angels in America’;
  • Claire Dowie: ‘Why is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt?’;
  • Sean O’Casey: ‘Three Dublin Plays’.


  • Simon Armitage: ‘Dead Sea Poems’;
  • Gillian Clarke: ‘Letter from a Far Country’ and ‘A Recipe for Water’;
  • Liz Lockhead: ‘Dreaming Frankenstein and Collected Poems’ and ‘The Colour of Black and White’;
  • W.H Auden: e.g. ‘The Quarry’, ‘Funeral Blues’, ‘Refugee Blues’;
  • Allan Ginsberg: ‘Howl’;
  • Carol Ann Duffy: ‘Love Poems’;
  • Grace Nichols: ‘I Have Crossed an Ocean’.

Texts in Translation:

  • Isabel Allende: ‘The House of the Spirits’;
  • Alexandra Kollontai: ‘Love of Worker Bees’;
  • Alexander Solzenichen: ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch’;
  • Pablo Neruda: ‘Residence on Earth’;
  • Bertolt Brecht: ‘Mother Courage and her Children’;
  • Federico Garcia Lorca: ‘The House of Bermuda Alba’, ‘Yerma’ and ‘Blood Wedding’;
  • Anne Frank: ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’;
  • Che Guevara: ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’;
  • Nawal al-Saadawi: ‘Memoirs from the Women’s Prison’.


Possible wider reading for 'Love Through the Ages':

Your reading in the literature of love should include:

  • The three genres of prose, poetry and drama
  • Literature written by both men and women
  • Literature through time (from Chaucer to the present day)
  • Some non-fiction texts

Chaucer will not be set as an item in the examination.

Possible wider reading suggestions:


  • Emily Bronte : 'Wuthering Heights';
  • Charlotte Perkins Gillman : 'The Yellow Wallpaper';
  • Thomas Hardy : 'The Woodlanders';
  • F Scott Fitzgerald : 'The Great Gatsby';
  • Jane Austen: ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Emma’;
  • Charlotte Bronte: ‘Jane Eyre’;
  • Samuel Richardson: ‘Pamela’;
  • Charles Dickens: ‘Great Expectations’;
  • Henry Fielding: ‘Shamela’ and ‘The History of Tom Jones’;
  • Daphne Du Maurier: ‘Rebecca’;
  • Angela Carter: ‘The Bloody Chamber’;
  • Ian McEwan: 'Enduring Love';
  • Evelyn Waugh: ‘Brideshead Revisited’;
  • Zadie Smith : 'On Beauty'.


  • Christopher Marlowe : ‘Edward II’;
  • William Shakespeare: 'Much ado about Nothing', 'Antony and Cleopatra' and ‘Othello’;
  • John Ford: 'Tis Pity she's a whore';
  • Oscar Wilde : 'The Importance of Being Earnest';
  • Aphra Behn: ‘The Rover’;
  • Martin Sherman: ‘Bent’;
  • William Congreve: ‘The Way of the World’;
  • Tennessee Williams : 'A Streetcar Named Desire’;
  • John Webster: ‘The Duchess of Malfi’;
  • John Osborne: ‘Look Back in Anger’;
  • Shelagh Delaney: ‘A Taste of Honey’;
  • Edward Albee : 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf'.


  • Geoffrey Chaucer : 'The Miller's Tale' and ‘The Knight’s Tale’;
  • John Donne: ‘The Sun Rising’ and ‘The Flea’;
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning: ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese (43)’;
  • Emily Dickinson: ‘Wild Nights, Wild Nights’;
  • Christina Rossetti:’ A Birthday’;
  • William Butler Yeats: ‘When You Are Old’;
  • Robert Browning: ‘Meeting at Night’;
  • Alexander Pope: ‘The Rape of the Lock’;
  • George Gordon, Lord Byron: ‘She Walks in Beauty’;
  • William Blake: ‘The Clod and the Pebble’;
  • Andrew Marvel : 'To his Coy Mistress';
  • Thomas Hardy: 'Under Castle Boterel';
  • John Keats: ‘Bright Star’;
  • William Shakespeare: any sonnets;
  • Elizabeth Jennings : 'One Flesh';
  • Ted Hughes : 'Pink Knitted Dress';
  • T.S. Eliot: 'The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’;
  • Carol Ann Duffy: ‘Anne Hathaway’ and ‘Valentine’;
  • Louis MacNeice: 'Meeting Point'.

July 2019


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