Gothic teaching pack

Last updated: 15/11/2023
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Main Subject
Key stage
Includes answers
Resource type
Teaching pack

This Gothic scheme of learning will introduce KS3 students to the key elements of the Gothic genre, while building their reading, writing and comprehension skills. 

You’ll find extracts from some of the most celebrated Gothic novels to share with students in this engaging teaching pack, as well as Gothic poems and ghostly short stories from the 18th and 19th century to the present day, including The Castle of Otranto, Northanger Abbey, Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Hound of the Baskervilles, ‘The Red Room’ and ‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allan Poe. There is also an extract from the exciting new YA series, City of Ghosts, to celebrate contemporary gothic fiction and encourage more reading for pleasure.

The key stage 3 lesson activities are designed to provide an overview of Gothic genre conventions, tropes, settings and character archetypes, and anticipate the key themes in Gothic literature to prepare students for GCSE English Literature prose texts.

To develop students’ exam skills for GCSE English Language, the teaching pack also includes a range of comprehension tasks to build students’ unseen fiction and unseen poetry skills and their confidence with new texts and new vocabulary. There are also exciting stimulus ideas for creative writing tasks for students to develop their fiction writing skills and comparative tasks looking at two texts.

The 94-page pack is student-facing and aimed at year 7-9 students, and includes a range of engaging teaching resources, worksheets and PPTs. There are differentiated activities, with stretch and challenge extension suggestions as well as more supportive ‘ladder up’ tasks, such as sentence starters and scaffolded resources.

What's included?

There are 14 lessons and lesson plans for English teachers which include:

  • Do now activities

  • Starter activities

  • Main activities with embedded formative assessment tasks, learning checks and reading comprehension questions

  • Plenaries

  • Homework tasks.

Each lesson is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, and the teaching pack also includes the lesson tasks and classroom worksheets along with answers for self or peer marking in class. Several lessons include a focus on writing analytically, using the PETER paragraphing framework.

The teaching pack culminates in a GCSE-style summative assessment task, which will help you to assess students' progress in reading and writing. There is also a detailed and comprehensive 15-page scheme of learning to integrate into your KS3 curriculum plans. 

What's inside?

Overview for teachers 

Key stage 3: Gothic scheme of learning 

Lesson overview 

Lesson 1: An introduction to Gothic fiction 

  • Resource 1 - gothic fiction
  • Resource 2 - extract from The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole

Lesson 2: Exploring Gothic vocabulary 

  • Resource 3 - Extract from Northanger Abbey (1803) by Jane Austen

Lesson 3: Understanding Gothic settings 

  • Resource 4 - literary and language techniques
  • Resource 5 - extract from Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley

Lesson 4: Analysing literary and language techniques

  • Resource 6 - literary and language techniques in Frankenstein

Lesson 5: Comparing two Gothic texts 

  • Resource 7 - comparing two Gothic texts
  • Resource 8 - comparing the ‘red rooms’

Lesson 6: Creating Gothic settings 

Lesson 7: Exploring Gothic conventions in poetry 

  • Resource 9 - storyboard for ‘The Raven’ (1845) by Edgar Allan Poe

Lesson 8: Exploring structure in a Gothic text 

  • Resource 10 - exploring the narrative structure of ‘The Raven’
  • Resource 11 - writing about the structure of ‘The Raven’

Lesson 9: Exploring Gothic characters 

  • Resource 12 - Extract from The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) by R.L. Stevenson

Lesson 10: Creating Gothic characters 

  • Resource 13 - Extract from Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker

Lesson 11: Understanding Gothic conventions and characters in modern texts 

  • Resource 14 - Extract from City of Ghosts (2018) by Victoria Schwab

Lesson 12 Creating your own Gothic character 

Lesson 13 Reading assessment

Lesson 14 Writing assessment 

  • Resource 15 - word bank and glossary


About the writer

Victoria Walker has taught English for over 15 years in schools across the country. She is currently Deputy Headteacher at St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive School in Chatham, Kent.

Example activities from the Gothic teaching pack: 

Do now activity: Skim read The Castle of Otranto extract. Highlight any words you do not understand.

Starter activity: In pairs or small groups, discuss what you do when you read a word you don’t know. What strategies do you use to help you to understand unfamiliar words?

Activity 2: Read the extract from The Castle of Otranto again

  • Underline any ‘Gothic’ words you notice and compare the words you have chosen in pairs.
  • Summarise the events that happen in each paragraph in 5-10 words.

Plenary: Do you agree that The Castle of Otranto is a Gothic novel?Explain your answer, giving three reasons from the text.

Ladder up: Remember the typical ingredients of Gothic fiction

  • an ‘ordinary’ character
  • a ‘monstrous’ character
  • the presence of the supernatural
  • a discovery of something historic or ancient
  • a frightening or ruined setting
  • a romantic relationship.

Sentence starter: I agree/disagree that The Castle of Otranto is a Gothic novel because …


Gothic teaching pack
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All reviews

Have you used this resource?

A fantastic packet. The mapping is clear and the range of activities is interesting and challenging as well as accessible at each level.

Emily Evans


A fantastic packet. The mapping is clear and the range of activities is interesting and challenging as well as accessible at each level.

Emily Evans