English Language GCSE: Analysing Literary Non-fiction

Over the course of this short film we see author Tim Moore analyse an extract from his book, ‘Do Not Pass Go’.

Journalist Anna James analyses an article from The Guardian, ‘Let’s move to Kings Cross, London’ by Tom Dyckhoff.

They refer to the writer’s purpose, intended audience, style and tone, and give suggestions on how to accurately analyse a piece of non-fiction text during an exam.

At the end of the film is a graphics animation which explains to students how to plan an answer that analyses a non-fiction text in their GCSE English language exams.

This short film is from the BBC series, GCSE English Language.

Teacher Notes

Before watching

This short film is useful for demonstrating the way writers tailor their language.

Have copies of the extracts from Do Not Pass Go by Tim Moore (Vintage Digital, 2008) and ‘Let’s move to King’s Cross, London: a most astonishing transformation’ (The Guardian, 2018) by Tom Dyckhoff, available for students.

Ask them to look closely at each text before watching the film.

Ask them to identify the tone, purpose and intended audience for each text and then watch the film to find out what author Tim Moore and journalist Anna James have to say.

During watching

During viewing, you can pause the film to discuss how students' responses to the texts compare with the responses of Tim and Anna.

Suggestions of Pause Points:

Pause point: 2:23

  • What can we assume about the audience for Tom Dyckhoff’s Guardian piece?

Pause point: 3:25

  • What effect does Tim create with the use of the phrase ‘pinball frenzy’?

Pause point: 3:40

  • Which narrative point of view does Tom use?

Pause point: 4:56

  • Why might a writer make references to popular culture?

Pause point: 5:57

  • How would you describe the effects of the adjectives ‘thundering’ and ‘choking’?

Pause point: 7:06

  • What is the purpose of a ‘lead’?

Next steps

Students could then go on to look at past papers and predict the sorts of questions that would be asked about these extracts.

They could use these questions to write their responses and achieve a greater understanding of what will be asked of them during their examinations.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching English language at GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4 and 5 in Scotland.

More from GCSE English Language

Analysing Fiction
Comparing Texts
Creative Writing in an Exam