Classical literature is at risk of dying out in English schools, education secretary Michael Gove has warned.
Writing for the Daily Telegraph, the minister suggested that secondary school pupils are not reading enough pre-20th century books.
"In exams more than 90 per cent of the answers on novels are on the same three works: Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird," he stated.
Mr Gove pointed out that last year, of the 300,000 students sitting English GCSE exams, just 1,700 studied a book written before the 20th century.
"The need for urgency can't be overstated. In the last ten years we've slipped down the world rankings for literacy from 7th to 25th. And the poorest are suffering most," he said.
Mr Gove claimed last month that students should be reading around 50 books a year, adding that schools need to "raise the bar" and encourage children to embrace a wider range of reading material.