Prose is a key part of the English curriculum in secondary school and is an important part of developing your student’s reading and writing skills.

Prose allows students to explore vocabulary and grammar in more depth, whilst also giving them the ability to decipher the meanings of different tones and attitudes within novels.

How to teach prose in lessons:

After introducing students to your chosen text there should be some discussion around the background of the book. This should include context such as the location and era in which the story is set. One way to do this is to get students in to groups and give them time to come up with a presentation of what life would have been like in the era the novel is set in. This can include the traditions, hobbies and attitudes of the time or even the types of food and entertainment from that time.

Understanding the background of the book will help students understand the meaning of the novel in more depth, including the attitudes and events of the time that may have inspired the author. They will also be able to have a better understanding of the characters within the novel by knowing their potential influences and lifestyles.

When you move on to reading the novel, you should start reading first. Teachers should take the lead, correctly following any punctuation and reading the text clearly with good pronunciation of words. Students should then be encouraged to take turns reading, avoiding a small minority having constant reading time.

When students reach any difficult words, this should be discussed between the class. You should look at its correct pronunciation, its meaning and also the type of word that it is classified as (noun, pronoun, adjective, etc).

As well as simply reading the book as a class, there should be a range of activities to compliment this that can help students to develop their understanding of the book, the characters and what meaning was intended by the author.

To help students with their comprehension and their understanding of the attitudes and writing style within the novel, some surface-level questions should be asked that tie back to the reading. More high-level and open-ended questions can follow this and can be used to encourage meaningful discussions and interpretations of the text.

There are a wide range of tools and resources for teachers to help with teaching prose in KS3. These offer different activities and lesson plans that follow the curriculum, allowing for more engaging lessons.