This is a necessary, thorough and excellent companion to the new VCE Literature study design for both VCE Literature teachers and students alike. Anne Mitchell’s VCE Literature: Steps to Success gives clear, accessible and achievable goals that are attainable for students studying the two year VCE Literature course because she shows them the steps to get there within each chapter and then cleverly summarises every chapter at the end with ten steps.
The book is unique in how it is set out because it is not divided into chapters that are directly related to specific outcomes and assessment tasks rather the chapters focus on essential knowledge and skills, which are applicable to a number of different Literature outcomes (Mitchell, 2016). Mitchell thus provides a table of outcomes which indicates which pages of her book are relevant to particular assessment tasks. The first chapter on the summary of the two-year VCE Literature study design is clearly laid out which makes it easy and digestible for the students to understand so they know exactly what is expected of them. The terminology list for VCE Literature is solid and extensive but allows students to add more literary terms to the list Mitchell provides. The only aspect that could be improved here is a reference or link to M.H. Abrams’ A Glossary of Literary Terms, the seventh edition of which is also available online for free. Abrams' book will further enhance the students’ metalanguage and vocabulary.
The brief introduction on the key literary theories is highly accessible and engaging. It also gives the students a strong understanding of the key theories which is critical for the new literary perspectives section of the course. This is a highly critical and significant aspect that Mitchell covers well, because it is literary theory that will either make the incoming VCE Literature students studying the new study design adore or abhor Literature so it needs to be engaging and broken into small, easy components for the students to understand it. The eBook that is accessible with the purchase of the hardcopy book provides excellent support material for both teachers and students but also has printable resources that teachers can use to better support their students’ study of VCE Literature. Overall, Anne Mitchell’s Literature book is one I would strongly recommend for every teacher and student of VCE Literature.
Reviewed by Sophia McQuillan, Bacchus Marsh Grammar School