Criteria for Selecting Literary Texts for a Language Classroom

Selecting a literary text for a language classroom requires a number of considerations. Many things, for example, students’ age , their emotion ,intellectual maturity and their interests and hobbies should be taken into consideration before selecting a literary text. Obviously, when selecting materials for language classroom, one should try to find texts that are suitable for the majority of students in the class. The following criteria can be considered for selecting a literary text for language classroom:

1.    When selecting a literary text, one should think about how far the student’s cultural background and their social and political expectations will help or hinder their understanding of a text. It would be difficult, for example, for most readers to make sense of Jane Austen’s novels without having some knowledge of the class system and values of the society they describe. One should consider how much background one will need to provide for students to have at least a basic understanding of the text. In addition, many students may have a strong sense of curiosity about another culture and enjoy studying its literature because they believe it reveals key insights about the society.

2.    The texts that are selected should have literary merit and are worthy of class study. Students may, for example, have studied literature in their own language. If it is a language in which similar conventions to those in English operate for reading and interpreting literature, then they may already have a level of literary competence which will help them to make sense of a literary text.

3.    The texts should have intellectual merit. The ideas and issues explored in the texts, in addition to being appropriate to the relevant age-group, are significant study, raising interesting issues and providing challenging ideas.

4.    The selected texts should allow students to develop critical appreciation of the craft and aesthetics of language and to experience the enjoyment and pleasure offered by reading.

5.     The texts should be accessible to as wide a range of students within a particular year level and class as possible. The language of the texts and the ideas explored in should be suitable for a wide range of students, including second language students.

6.    The range of texts should ideally include tradition and contemporary texts.

7.    The texts should represent a range of literary genre.

8.    The texts should be appropriate for the age and development of students and in that context should reflect current community standards and expectations.

9.    The texts should reflect a wide range of experience whenever possible; they should reflect the experience and perspectives of male and female, young and old, and a wide range of cultures, in historical contemporary and imaginary settings.

10.    The selected texts should include a balance of new and established works.

11.    They should contain print and non-print texts that are freely available.

12.     The texts should not contain language or images which would be judged to be obscene or offensive by current community standards and expectations. Exception to this general principle may occur where the text in which such language of image are present meet the criteria set out importance to the development of the characters, representations or ideas explored in the text, and the English teachers have determined that exposure to such language or images will not hinder the social and moral development of their students.

So, the above criteria should be considered when selecting a literary text for a language classroom.