Owww, all this reading is making my bolts spin! I love to read books about all kinds of things, especially when they help me learn something new. Do you like to read?
There are lots of different pieces of writing out there, like novels, poetry, cookbooks, textbooks, movie scripts, short stories, and, one of my favourites, encyclopedias. But did you know that the word literature mainly refers to written pieces that are considered works of art? In other words, the writer has used their imagination and chosen their words very carefully so that their writing sounds nice when you read it. Literature includes things like novels, short stories, poetry, and plays. Written stuff that is just supplying information – like a travel guide or textbook – is not considered literature.
Literature first began around 5,000 years ago. Around this time, people were using reeds as pens and they were writing stories and poems on slabs of damp clay. Once the clay dried, it became a permanent document, kind of like a book! The ancient Egyptians invented a type of writing called hieroglyphics, which used symbols. They also created a material called papyrus, which was kind of like paper, where they wrote some of the first books. Lots of other ancient cultures developed their own literature around this time, including China, Greece, Japan, the Ottoman Empire, Persia, and more.
Throughout history, literature has changed a lot, with new books, poems and plays being added all the time and different writers becoming famous for their work. You may have heard of one: William Shakespeare! He is a very important poet and playwright who many consider the greatest writer in the English language.
Now, almost every country has its own literature. Reading literature can teach you about a culture, a part of the world, and the time in which it was written, and you can learn a lot about people and big issues. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!
With all this talk about literature, I’m keen to relax with a cup of tea and one of my favourite novels. I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon!
Encyclopedia - a group of books, or a single book, with information on a range of topics or lots of information on one topic.
Reed - a very long and thin piece of grass.
Permanent - something that lasts forever.
1. 'literature’ means ‘writing formed with letters’ in Latin.
2. India reads more than any other culture, followed by Thailand and China.
1. What are three examples of literature?
2. A cookbook is considered literature – true or false?
3. Which ancient culture created hieroglyphics?
4. Name three ancient cultures that developed their own literature.
5. Which culture currently reads the most?
Increase your knowledge by completing these activities.