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English Language Learning

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Context Clues
Sometimes, when we’re reading, we can come across words that we don’t understand. But all texts feature context clues that help us to decipher their meaning. You just need to know where to look.
What is a Character Foil?
Explore the fascinating world of character foils in literature, where a supporting character’s traits highlight the protagonists' personality, motivations, and the art of storytelling itself.
Steps in the Writing Process
There are five key steps in the writing process: planning, writing, revising, editing, and submitting. If you can use them your writing will improve and you’ll feel less stressed.
Types of Conflict in Literature
Conflict is an essential element in storytelling, driving characters to pursue their goals and overcome obstacles. It comes in five main forms - Character vs. Character, Character vs. Self, Character vs. Nature, Character vs. Society, and Character vs. The Supernatural - each of which adds depth and tension to narratives and shaping character development.
Gothic Horror
With its roots in stories from folklore, legends and religious traditions, gothic horror has entertained, and terrified, readers for centuries. From Bram Stoker's Dracula, to Shirley Jackson's unsettling tales, we look at some examples of the form through the ages.
Historical Fiction
Historical fiction is a literary genre in which a fictional story is set in a chosen period of time in history. Often involving real people, these stories reimagine historical events. We take a look at classics from Homer's The Iliad, to Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.
Myths and Legends
Myths and legends are ancient stories that have survived for centuries in all parts of the world. Let’s explore some examples from around the world to learn about their enduring appeal.
Folktales and Folklore
Folklore and folk tales are stories that have been passed down through the generations in cultures all around the world. Let’s explore different examples and consider why these types of stories have endured for so long.
The Lost Generation
The devastation and disillusionment that resonated through society in the aftermath of World War I had a profound impact on the literary landscape, notably a group of U.S. writers living in Europe, including Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. These writers are known as the Lost Generation.
Epistolary
Discover the captivating world of epistolary literature, where stories unfold through letters and documents. Explore its rich history, unique storytelling elements, and how it connects readers to characters' inner thoughts and feelings.
What Makes Little Women a Classic?
When Little Women was first released in 1868, it sold 2,000 copies in just two days. A coming-of-age story that defied convention, it has gripped and inspired readers for generations.
Theme
Themes are the profound ideas that shape narratives and give insights into the human experience. Explore how authors subtly convey themes through plot, characters, and details, allowing you to relate universal messages to your own life.
Analyzing People, Events & Ideas
By analyzing the people, events, and ideas that shape a narrative, you can uncover the underlying connections that make a story compelling. Discover how causes, effects, and influences work together, and enhance your own reading and writing skills.
Determine An Author’s Purpose
The author’s purpose is the reason that he or she writes a piece of literature. Let’s explore how you, as a reader, can identify that purpose by examining the text in more detail.
What is an Idiom?
From hitting below the belt to couch potatoes, discover how idioms add color and interest to everyday communication and creative writing.
Peer Feedback
Learn to give insightful, respectful feedback that enhances your and your peers’ writing and fosters a supportive learning environment.
Coming of Age
Coming of age stories chart a character’s journey from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood. This genre is also known by the German word, 'Bildungsroman'. We take a look at some classics of the genre, from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.
Romanticism
Beginning in the eighteenth century in response to social upheaval, industrialisation and revolution, ideas of Romanticism influenced poets such as Coleridge, Blake and Wordsworth. Later novelists, from Emily Bronte to Nathaniel Hawthorn used elements of the Romantic genre to write some of the greatest works in literature.
Satire
Satire is a form of writing that uses humor to mock those thought to be guilty of foolishness, arrogance, greed or corruption. This video takes a look at the use of satire in literature over the centuries.
Adventure
Action packed adventure stories can take us on journeys full of danger, excitement and triumph. Sometimes fictional, and sometimes based on true events, we take a look at the adventure stories which entertain and thrill us. From the first adventure novels of the 19th century including Moby Dick and Treasure Island, to popular fiction of the 20th century.
Nonfiction Text Structures
Understand nonfiction texts with these five essential text structures. From chronological narratives to cause and effect explanations, problem-solving essays, compare and contrast articles, and descriptive lists, once you know these structures, you can read and write with more clarity.
Making Inferences
Learn how to make inferences to uncover hidden meanings in texts. Discover the power of evidence and reasoning as you piece together the author's clues, enhancing your reading experience and engaging with stories on a deeper level.
Finding the Main Idea
Understanding the main idea allows you to grasp the author's purpose. Whether the main idea is communicated implicitly or explicitly, there are simple steps you can follow to identify it and gain a deeper understanding of a text's key message.
Analyzing Word Choice
Just as painters carefully select brushstrokes and colors, writers meticulously choose words to convey emotions, create tone, and shape meaning. By understanding the impact of word choice, you can express yourself more clearly in both speech and writing.
Analysis of Text
Analysis of Text is an important skill that helps readers to understand the true meaning of a text. Let’s explore what clues to look out for to analyze any text.
Symbolism
Symbolism is a literary tool that lots of authors use to make complex ideas more accessible to readers. Let’s explore how writers use objects, characters and events as symbols in their work.
Nonfiction Text Features
Books and articles aren't just made up of words. They can contain images, maps, charts and many other items too. Let’s learn about the Nonfiction Text Features you should look out for.
Planning For A Research Paper
In the world of research and writing, planning is an essential roadmap that keeps you on course, prevents stress and detours, and leads to more efficient and higher-quality work.
Paraphrasing Versus Quoting
Explore the differences between quoting and paraphrasing and learn when to use them to best effect.
Juxtaposition
Juxtaposition highlights similarities and differences between two things, giving you a deeper understanding of characters, plot and theme and making storytelling much more impactful.
How to Write a Strong Research Question
Crafting the right research question is a crucial step in developing the analytical skills necessary for school and life!
Children's Literature
Children’s literature is fiction created specifically to be read and enjoyed by young people. From nursery rhymes and fairy tales, stories that can teach us about good and evil, to books that whisk us off to fantastical worlds beyond our wildest dreams, we take a look at the history of children's books from Aesop's Fables to modern classics, such as Harry Potter and Wonder.
Allegory
Allegory is a form of literary fiction that uses symbolism to comment on actual events, people or elements of the human condition, often working on two levels: the surface story and the deeper meaning. We take a look at some of the great allegorical works in literature, from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progess, to George Orwell's political allegory, Animal Farm.
Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism is a spiritual, philosophical and literary movement that emerged in the United States in the 19th century. With its emphasis on individualism and the inherent goodness of all people, discover how it impacted civil rights movements via works by Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau and others.
Character Development
Discover five techniques that author’s use to develop memorable and engaging characters. From traits and dialogue to thoughts, effects, and actions, learn how your favorite characters are brought to life.
Identifying & Evaluating Evidence
Whether in speech or writing, citing relevant and credible evidence strengthens your analysis and increases your ability to convince others, making your arguments more persuasive and trustworthy.
Greek and Latin Roots
Lots of the words that we use everyday have their roots in the ancient languages of Latin and Greek. Let’s explore some examples and learn how language is constantly evolving.
Separation of Powers
The U.S. federal government consists of three branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. Each one has a distinct role, ensuring a balance of power that protects the institution.
Interpreting Diverse Media
From books to movies, documentaries to podcasts, and image searches to galleries, embracing diverse media enriches your understanding and transforms your research into a multi-faceted journey of discovery.
When to Capitalize Letters
Capital letters might not get your pulse racing, but they’re still vital. They indicate the beginning of sentences, signal proper nouns, names, and titles, and highlight key words in titles, enhancing clarity and understanding in writing.
Novel in Verse
Novel in verse is a hybrid genre - a style of literature that uses narrative poetry to tell a novel-length story, often through being read out loud. In this film we take a look at narrative poems through history, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the first Novel in Verse writings of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Modern writers, such as Kwame Alexander in The Crossover and Jason Reynolds in the Long Way Down use this form to explore contemporary themes of racism and identity.
Realism
Realism is a genre of writing that explores the real world, in all its gritty glory. Defined by authors like Gustav Flaubert, Edith Wharton and Alice Walker, realist writers often expose societal flaws, offering insights into the real-life struggles and the triumphs of ordinary people.
Autobiography and Memoir
Autobiographies and memoirs are similar – but each is a distinct nonfiction literary genre. Here we discover what they share in common and why true stories about people’s lives remain popular for readers across the globe.
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction that whisks readers off other worlds, filled with magic and adventure. From The Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter, let’s explore some classics of the fantasy canon.
Mystery
Mystery is a genre of fiction that focuses on solving a crime through a gripping plot. Let’s examine the conventions that mysteries share and explore some of the finest examples through the ages.
Postcolonial Literature
Giving voice to the oppressed, discover how authors like Achebe, Rushdie and Adichie postcolonial literature to express the impacts of colonialism, reshaping identity and independence narratives from Africa to Asia.
The Elements of Fiction
Discover the secrets of storytelling with the five key ingredients of fiction - settings, characters, dialogue, narrator and plots. Use these elements to analyze and appreciate your favorite stories on a deeper level.
Breaking Down Arguments
Harness the power of critical thinking through the four elements of effective arguments: claim, reasons, evidence, and counterarguments. Learn to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of any argument and make your own case with solid reasoning and evidence.
Annotating
Annotations are notes that a reader makes to a text. They help you familiarize yourself with both the content and organization of what you read. Let’s discover ways you can annotate a text.
Summarizing Nonfiction Texts
Nonfiction texts can be complex and dense. But anyone can summarize their contents by following four simple steps. It’s as easy as explaining what you have read to a friend.
Making Connections Within the Text
One of the primary joys of reading is seeing yourself in a character, or seeing world events mirrored in the plot of a book. This is called making connections with texts and it not only enhances enjoyment, it also enhances understanding and your ability as a reader.
Magical Realism
Starting as an art form in the 1920s, magical realism is a genre of literature that uses the real world as a setting, but adds a sprinkle of magic or fantasy. Made famous by South American writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his book 'One Hundred Year's of Solitude', this new form of expression soon developed new conventions, with writers around the world, such as Yann Martel and Toni Morrison.
Existentialism
Dive into the world of Existentialism, where authors like Dostoevsky, Sartre and Camus challenge readers to find personal meaning amidst life's absurdities, blending deep philosophical questions with relatable human struggles.
Victorian Literature
Exploring the diversity of Victorian Literature, we discover how authors like Charles Dickens, the Brontë Sisters and Lewis Carroll captured the ideals and issues of a rapidly industrializing society, weaving tales of innovation, societal norms and adventure in 19th Century England.
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