English 424

ENGL 424
Study of Children’s Literature

Catalog Entry

ENGL 424. Study of Children’s Literature
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisites: CORE 101 and CORE 102.

Priority given to (1) IDSE majors and (2) IDSM majors .

Course familiarizes students, particularly prospective elementary school teachers, with classic and contemporary children’s literature. Students study children’s literature by focusing on historical contexts, genres, evaluation criteria, media adaptations, selection aids and procedures, and book-related activities. The intent is to develop knowledgeable, thoughtful students who are skilled in using children’s literature in classroom or library settings.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course familiarizes students with classic and contemporary, multi-cultural selections from the recognized canon of children’s literature while also connecting those canonical and contemporary works to classroom and library settings where groups of children congregate to read and be read to. Students investigate the historical and cultural traditions (oral and written) leading to modern varieties of everything from wordless picture books for the very young to full-length chapter books. Fiction - including nursery rhymes, folk tales, fairy tales, fantasy, realistic and historical fiction - and non-fiction - including biography, autobiography, informational and scientific texts - are considered along with varying evaluation criteria and selection aids - including reviews, established awards, booklists and annotated bibliographies. Additionally, students learn about the textual features appropriate for the support of emergent reading consistent with contemporary, psycholinguistic research on emergent literacy.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

ENGL 424 offers students multiple and multi-faceted learning opportunities through engagement with both primary texts (trade books) and reference texts concerned with children’s literature and literacy. Students engage in whole-class and small-group discussions; perform oral readings for large and small groups; develop presentations with associated learning activities; design and implement instructional plans aligned with pertinent, official and statutory standards for both primary texts and reference information; write individually and in peer writing groups to produce both creative and expository materials; individually respond to trade and reference reading assignments; investigate audio-visual and web-based resources pertinent to specific literature selections, authors, genres, and contexts; and consult individually and in small groups with the instructor on a variety of assignments.


Goals and Objectives of Course

Upon completion of this course, successful students in “The Study of Children’s Literature” will:

1. Understand and be able to describe in writing the value of children’s literature in instructional and extracurricular reading engagements;
2. Know and be able to describe in writing both the historical and more contemporary, identifiable features of children’s literature as a genre or literary subcategory across multiple cultures;
3. Have read widely within the diverse canon of children’s literature currently available;
4. Know how to select, evaluate, and analyze for instructional purposes typical selections found in children’s literature;
5. Be aware of multiple, process-oriented activities utilizing children’s literature in teaching diverse students of various ages and abilities and be able to apply those activities in unit and lesson planning tasks;
6. Be aware of and be able effectively to find and utilize a variety of audio-visual and web-based resources in support of literature selection, evaluation, and implementation tasks associated with activity and instructional planning;
7. Demonstrate an ability effectively to conduct book talks, to perform oral readings, and to lead literature-based discussions.


Assessment Measures

ENGL 424 uses a variety of assessment measures, which may include a number of the following:

  • informal writing activities such as readers’ logs, journals and discussion questions;
  • in-class student presentations with learning activities;
  • reading quizzes and examinations on assigned readings;
  • in-class or take-home essay examinations on the assigned readings;
  • researched or non-researched essays on the literature, concepts, and reference materials investigated in the course;
  • research project and / or final essay focused on an individually chosen topic;
  • imaginative / creative composition(s) written for the audience of children from birth to about puberty;
  • activity plans - traditional or web-based - designed to accompany readings from the canon of children’s literature and deliverable in classroom, day-care, and library settings;
  • instructional plans - traditional or web-based - designed to accompany readings from the canon of children’s literature and deliverable in classroom, day-care, and library settings;
  • oral performances and / or recitations of selections from the canon of children’s literature and / or traditional folk / fairy / tall / jack tales.


Other Course Information


Review and Approval

October, 2009