By Singapore Teaching Centre, British Council

28 August 2023 - 09:00

10 classic novels for eager English learners to read

Timeless stories have been captured in literature throughout history. Reading these novels can deepen your  appreciation for and understanding of language. Not only can diving into a good book transport you to new worlds, but it can also shape a lifelong love for literature. Here are ten classics for secondary students to consider adding to their reading list.

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Dazzling with the glamour of the roaring 1920s, this novel draws the reader into a world of wealth, love, and tragedy, providing an exploration of the American Dream. The novel's metaphors and vivid imagery offer great material for learning English. Reading this novel can give you a head start as it is one of the extended reading components in our course for Secondary students at the British Council in Singapore. 

2. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Carroll's fantastical story is filled with word play, riddles, and creative dialogues. It inspires an imaginative take on English language use and encourages critical thinking skills. This book is also listed as an extended reading component of the Secondary courses at the British Council in Singapore. 

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3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A timeless piece of literature, this novel delves into themes of justice, morality, and racial inequality. Its powerful storytelling and compelling dialogues can help students engage with advanced English vocabulary and concepts.

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4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is one of the great love stories in English literature. Jane Austen’s incisive wit and keen observations of societal manners offer students the opportunity to enjoy narrative storytelling and study the use of dialogue to develop characters. 

5. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

The Outsiders is an engaging coming-of-age story with richly drawn characters and realistic dialogues. This novel introduces students to colloquial English and explores themes of identity and belonging, making it ideal for Secondary students. 

6. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Golding's gripping tale of survival and human nature in Lord of the Flies will expose students to vivid descriptions and complex themes. This is a classic novel which encourages sophisticated use of the English language and comprehension.

7. Animal Farm by George Orwell

George Orwell's allegorical novella provides a great opportunity for learners to engage with satire, political themes, and subtle language nuances. Animal Farm is an ideal story for students who seek to be captivated and educated.

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8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This passionate and haunting love story invites students to delve into complex sentence structures, advanced vocabulary, and emotive language. This is a great example of imaginative writing which is sure to surprise the reader.

9. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Mark Twain's iconic work is an excellent introduction to the American vernacular and the concept of regional dialects, enhancing students' understanding of cultural context in language use. 

10. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

With a blend of Gothic and Romantic elements, Mary Shelley’s novel immerses students in expressive language and thematic discussions on creation, responsibility, and humanity. 

At the British Council in Singapore, we aim to nurture a love for the English language through interactive learning experiences. Our Secondary English tuition courses are thoughtfully designed to help students excel in all areas of the English language, from comprehension to composition and critical thinking. Tailored to align with school curriculums, our courses empower students to stay academically competitive while exploring their unique learning journey.

Reading can be a window to new perspectives and an avenue for academic growth. These classic novels, steeped in rich language and gripping narratives, provide ample opportunities for students to practise their English skills and foster a lasting love for literature. Embark on this literary journey and witness how the beauty of the English language can truly come alive through these timeless pages.

Help your child excel in all areas and stay academically competitive with English tuition for secondary students at the British Council in Singapore.