The Rules

The following rules apply to students of the Stedelijk Gymnasium Leiden taught by Mr de Jong. The rules are meant to guide the students in their choice of novels. Their reading list should show sophistication, variety and a personal touch.

Students need to read 8 literary novels in two years. They will be tested in an oral exam which takes about 15 minutes. Five minutes will be spent on a monologue in which they compare two of those eight novels. Ten minutes will be used for questions on the eight novels. Not all novels will be discussed, but students don’t know which novels they will be asked about.

  • One novel must be from before 1900 (pre-modern).
  • One novel must be a modern classic.
  • One novel must be a recent prize winner (Man Booker, Costa or Pulitzer). “Recent” means ten years or less.
  • The other five novels are ‘open options’. Students could pick a novel from the previous lists, but they can also pick literary novels which are not on these lists.
  • Every orange labeled novel needs to be ‘compensated’ by a blue or purple novel.
  • Some novels count as ½, see this website for details.
  • Young adult novels (The Fault in Our Stars, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Hobbit, etc ) are not allowed.
  • Students are not allowed to read more novels by the same author to make sure they read a variety of styles.
  • All novels need to be originally written in English, so that means the United Kingdom, the United States, South-Africa, Australia, Jamaica, etc. The only exception is that you are allowed to read a winning novel from the Man Booker International Prize list (from 2018 onwards, also the longlist). Only one such novel is allowed.

Students must keep their reading list on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com) on a separate shelf named ‘reading list’.

Students keep a reading journal which needs to be shown to their teacher from time to time.

Students need to create a Freytag’s Pyramid for each novel they have read.

Reading should be done mostly at home or in off-hours at school.

The Test

Students get two marks for the assessment. One for their comparison, one for the questions. Both marks count as 1 (add both marks, divided by two). The test counts as 2 in their PTA.

If students miss their oral exam, they will lose a re-sit. Literature tests, just like any other test, can be re-sit.

Oral literature tests will be recorded to use for a second opinion if needed. There is only one interlocutor/assessor: their English teacher.

Students are allowed to have their assessment earlier. From the start of the final year they can have their assessment. They should notify the teacher three weeks prior to the assessment.

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