The Results

In the course of research the learners read twelve short stories from three different authors:

  1. Oscar Wilde - The Nightingale and the Rose; The Happy Prince; The Selfish Giant; The Devoted Friend.
  2. Roald Dahl - Galloping Foxley; Lamb to Slaughter; The Way Up To Heaven; Mrs Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat.
  3. O.Henry - The Gift of the Magi; The Last leaf; The Ransom of Read Chief; The Cop and the Anthem.

They were asked to reflect on the stories after reading and then write down their thoughts.

I have collated some quotations from their reflections and organised them by author to facilitate a comparison.

When choosing the quotations I looked for adjectives that describe emotions. In my opinion these quotations best illustrate the learners’ emotional involvement in the process of reading the literature.

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If you would like to read what four of the learners wrote about their reflections on these stories in full, please click here.

When learners reflected on the stories, they showed a great amount of emotional involvement in the process of reading.

Some words they used to reflect on their feelings:

hilarious     spiritual    sad    angry   horrible     anxious     funny interesting       strange      unexpected     heavy    dark     happy worried      overwhelmed      excited      surprised       scared       upset      frustrated       annoyed     disappointed       prayed


This confirms Collie and Slater (1997) opinion that, in the process of reading, the focus of their attention shifts "beyond the more mechanical aspects of the foreign language system".


Field Trip

When reading Oscar Wilde’s Fairy Tales for the Book Club, one of the Level 1 students discovered there was an exhibition going on in Reading about Oscar Wilde and Reading Gaol. She suggested going on a trip.

In October 2014 Entry 3 and Level 1 classes went on an Oscar Wilde walk in Reading. We saw the prison where he spent two years of his life, walked along the canal and read extracts of his Ballad of Reading Gaol.

After that we walked to the Berkshire Records Office to see an exhibition about Oscar Wilde and Reading Gaol.

After the trip several learners learned an extract of The Ballad of Reading Gaol by heart and recited it in class.

This was a great achievement of the Book Club project as it was entirely the learners’ initiative to go and see the prison and the exhibition.

Read the WEA Newsletter about the trip.


Results of final questionnaire answered by students

Questions answered by students
% students answering
Reading books for the Book Club made the classes more enjoyable:
a. I was excited to know what happened in the end of the story
b. sometimes stories made me feel emotional
c. stories made me think about them after I finished reading
d. I wanted to know what other people in class thought about these stories
e. I liked participating in discussions about the stories myself
f. I liked doing something different in class
Reading books for the Book Club helped me with my English:
a. I learned new words/new expressions
b. it helped me with my writing/spelling
c. it improved my communication/discussion skills/I can speak more confidently
d. it helped me understand British culture better
e. it helped me overcome a fear of reading books in English
f. it made me want to read more books in English
g. I started reading books in English outside class