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Children's Literature

Course NumberENG 251W
Lab Hours0
Lecture Hours60
Course DescriptionPrerequisite: READING LEVEL 3 and any approved College Composition I course with a minimum grade of C. Surveys literature for children in the elementary grades. Explores quality trade books for children; presents respected writers and illustrators in various genres. Dispels commonly misconceived and generic thinking about children's literature, replacing with more perceptive criteria and reflective judgment of book selection. Results in greater knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of children's literature. Credit may be earned in ENG 251W or LIT 251W but not both. (60-0)

Outcomes and Objectives

Recognize the quality and variety of children's trade books, as opposed to commonly known mass marketed books.
  1. Research quality trade books through repeated trips to libraries.
  2. Find effective children's literature in both the Dewey Decimal and library of Congress systems.
  3. Inventory various genres such as modern realism and fantasy, historical fiction and biography, picture books and illustrated books, nonfiction and concept books, folk tales, fables, and mythology, for the primary and upper elementary grades.

Revise common stereotypes and misconceptions about children's literature to a clearer understanding of how effective literature speaks to children, reflects their experience, and exposes them to understanding or information about themselves, people, and the world.
  1. Assemble an annotated file of poets and their books to demonstrate awareness of poetry that not only speaks to children's sense of humor but to their sense of curiosity, wonder, beauty, order, reality, imagination, fear, questioning, and justice.
  2. Formulate written critiques analyzing what authors and illustrators offer to children in the modern picture book in terms of an engaging verbal and/or visual experience--and the purposeful relationship of the two.
  3. Report on the meaning, effectiveness, and audience of novels and biographies for upper elementary readers, and in some cases, young listeners.
  4. Describe folk literature for children beyond commonly known European tales to include American folk literature in all its diversity, global folk literature from other cultures around the world, and a greater breadth of European traditions.

Apply standards of analysis to various kinds and maturity levels of children's literature.
  1. Evaluate a range of styles, purposes, and maturity levels in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and folk literature.
  2. Select and define a spectrum of effective writing in children's literature.
  3. Demonstrate how illustration--more than merely being colorful and bright--supports or extends literature purposefully, or engages active intellectual involvement on its own.

Construct well-composed, meaningful written as well as oral analyses of children's books.
  1. Draw lead conclusions, select background information, elaborate key supporting points, command examples of these points, and round off explanation by reiterating thesis or introducing other notable features.
  2. Analyze the purpose and effectiveness of literature, rather than merely retell it.
  3. Synthesize analysis, information, and personal connections or observations.

Read children's literature perceptively.
  1. Reassess personal reading processes and exposure to various forms of literature.
  2. Interpret how children's books for various age levels reflect children's own experience and meet children's emotional and intellectual needs.
  3. Examine and explain how children's prior reading experience and abilities might restrict their success with various texts, but how modeling or exposing young readers to various kinds of literature can improve their success, comprehension, and enjoyment of reading.

Participate in "writing to learn" activities.
  1. Perform writing tasks to promote learning.
  2. Write effectively for a specific audience and purpose.
  3. Demonstrate the learning of concepts through writing.

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