Literary Connections: making the right connections with literature
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Teaching resources

This page contains links to a range of online resources, from where to find sound and image files to examination boards. You'll find more specialised links on the language, literature and books pages.

General resources for English teachers
  • NATE: the subject association for English teachers, with free resources on Group Reading at Key Stage 3 and an extensive bookshop. See also:
  • Teachit: a vast horde of free and subscription resources, from primary to A Level. Over 10,000 pages of materials - 'from Austen to Zephaniah' - and plenty of interactivity for suscribers.
  • Hertfordshire Grid for Learning: the English section has useful materials, particularly for Key Stage 3. 'We are happy for teachers outside of Hertfordshire to use the materials published on these pages,' they say, but ask for credit to be given to the LA and schools.
  • Universal teacher: excellent free site from the late, and much missed, Andrew Moore.
  • Put Learning First: small but useful site from Duncan Grey, with materials on A Level English Language, ICT and other topics of interest to English teachers.
For more resources for teaching literature, such as finding texts online, see the Literatures links page.
Making the most of ICT in English
  • Becta Schools site: the new Learning and Teaching section has a great deal of material, though you'll need to dig around a bit.
  • Curriculum Online: what you can buy with your e-Learning Credits (eLCs)
  • Collapser: an invaluable free tool from English Online that allows you to turn any piece of text into a list sorted in a variety of ways. (Teachit Works subscribers have access to Cruncher, a text collapser with even more facilities.)
  • Practical Support Pack: growing bank of resources for CPD, including comprehensive lesson materials.
Moving image and media
  • The British Film Institute has a wide range of resources, including film clips freely available to schools and colleges. Two worth exploring are:
  • The British Pathé Archive: 75 years of news, sport, social history and entertainment from 1895 to 1970. Free online access to clips - and schools can download high quality films through broadband consortia.
    • Shapes of Time is the Regional Broadband Consortium British Pathe support site.
    • Pathe resources on CLEO (Cumbria and Lancashire Education Online): poems by Norman Nicholson and C. Day Lewis are illuminated by contemporary newsreels.
  • Film Education: resources (many free) on film, both current releases and classics such as Red Shoes.
  • Internet Movie Database: find the film you're looking for here - and trailers and lots more.
  • Jurassic Punk - impressive collection of movie trailers and clips online.
  • Media Education Wales: the website has some free resources (including a useful list of film terms) but the main resources is Making movies make sense, a CD-ROM on understanding and using film language which was shortlisted for a BETT Award in 2006 for the quality of its practical demonstrations and activities. It's very reasonably priced and well worth investigating.
Sounds can make a big difference to your presentations, whiteboard activities - and to students' work too. Thanks to Esther Menon for suggesting these:
  • A1 Radio Sounds: a large number of free sound effects.
  • SFX: free sound effects for multimedia productions from Pacific Digital Video, ranging from 'ambience' to 'voice'.
  • Royalty-free music from Kevin MacLeod's Incompetech site: a good choice of music which is free to use, provided credit is given - though donations are invited.
Podcasting makes radio programmes available on the Internet so others - students, parents, anyone - can listen to them at any time on a computer, iPod or MP3 player.

  • Assignment: Podcast from BT Education is a good introduction for teachers of students from 7-18 on how to create a podcast. It includes advice from veteran BBC broadcaster Nick Clarke, suggestions for (cheap) equipment and helpful guidance on using the free Audacity software to edit your recordings. Well worth a visit.
  • Play up for podcasts: how one school is using podcasting in a helpful article in The Times Educational Supplement for 2 February 2007, reporting on Hanson Radio from John Hanson Community School in Andover.
  • Podcast revision, from Barrie McDermid's school in Durham, has podcasts for GCSE English revision and the SATs, including readings of poems and commentaries in good quality sound.
  • Ian McMillan's Writing Lab: the poet and presenter of BBC Radio 3's The Verb offers practical advice on writing. From the BBC and the Open University, it's aimed at adults but should provide plenty of ideas for the classroom. Anyway, it's good for teachers to write as well - and the Bard of Barnsley is always worth listening to!
Award-winning sites
These short-listed sites from the 2006 secondary English BETT Awards are well worth exploring:
  • Stagework from the National Theatre (winner): resources on key productions at the National Theatre the Bristol Old Vic and Birmingham Repertory Theatre such as The Crucible and His Dark Materials - interviews, videos of rehearsals, lesson materials and more.
  • In Between the Lines from London Gifted & Talented: you need to request access (well worth it, as you then have access to media-rich resources and students can store their own work).
  • Making movies make sense was also shortlisted - see above.
Finding images online
Seach engines can quickly find images on a topic, though many may be irrelevant to your needs or unusable at the large sizes you may want to use with a class, so be prepared to spend some time searching, or see what galleries and museums have to offer.
  • AltaVista Image Search: this has a very useful 'family filter', which you can switch on or off. If the filter is on then it attempts to avoid images whose content might be questionable.
  • Fagan Finder: Michael Fagan's useful collection of image search engines, including many specialised ones.
  • Google image search: a powerful image search facility. The 'SafeSearch filter' operates in a similar way to AltaVista's family filter.
  • Yahoo also has an image search facility: click on 'Images' on the row of buttons at the top of the page. The 'SafeSearch filter' is very similar to Google's.
For more on museums, galleries, etc, especially for literature teaching, see the art section of the Literatures links page.

For general discussion forums about English teaching (not restricted to ICT and English) see: These are more specialised forums and sites that can be used by students:
  • The Language Legend: a lively blog from Julie Blake, 'keeping you posted on cool stuff happening in the world of words'. A good example of blogging with a purpose - suitable for A Level students as well as their students. Hovever, on 19 January 2006 the blog announced 'E-Julie is taking a well-earned fictional Gap Year', so no more updates for a while!
  • Cool Reads: hundreds of books reviewed by 10-15 year olds.
  • BBC Onion Street: discussion areas for secondary students.
  • Dictionaries: on the Language links page
  • Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that's a good place to begin research. Anyone can contribute and edit articles, which means information can change frequently and is, in theory, subject to the bias of the writer. But as that's true of any publication, once you (and your students) are aware of this, you'll find it invaluable.
Examination boards
Hardly the first stop for teaching resources - but the examination boards, like them or loathe them, determine much of what goes on in classrooms. Their websites are essential sources of information on what will be tested - and also contain much useful support material too, from past papers and reports to newsletters and information on support meetings.
  • AQA
  • CCEA: curriculum, examinations and assessment in Northern Ireland
  • Edexcel
  • OCR
  • SQA: curriculum, examinations and assessment for Scotland
  • WJEC