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Children's Literature Resources

Consider what other institutions do to create benchmarks for best practices. (See selected examples.)

In creating a course, you do not need to "recreate the wheel", because many institutions make their learning objectives / learning outcomes available to prospective students.

CCRI Example Children's Literature

Upon successful completion of the course, the student should:
  1. Display a working knowledge of classic and contemporary children's literature
  2. Identify and describe distinct literary characteristics of literature, including techniques of illustration and format of children's books
  3. Analyze literary works from various genres for their structure and meaning, using correct terminology
  4. Write analytically about children's literature using MLA guidelines
  5. Effectively communicate ideas related to the literary works during class and group activities

George Mason University Syllabus (Highly detailed with links to open resources)

1. Read and comprehend the content of various kinds of children’s books with attention to detail,
nuance, and literary qualities and literary devices (INTASC 4) (Mason Core Literature
Outcomes 1 and 3)
2. Plan for meeting the needs of diverse classroom populations including disabilities, SES,
ethnicities and race, gender, and linguistic diversity. (INTASC 1, 2, 3)
3. Integrate children’s literature across content areas (INTASC 1, 4, 5, 7)
4. Describe why learning communities and motivation are important and describe the major
strategies for motivating students. (INTASC 1, 3, 5)
5. Identify genres in children’s literature and collect, read, and categorize books based on these
genres (INTASC 3, 4, 5, 7)
6. Engage in book discussion to deepen knowledge about and appreciation of children’s literature
in conjunction with language arts content standards and the historical and cultural contexts
within which the literature is situated (INTASC 4, 5, 8) (Mason Core Literature Outcome 4)
7. Plan for and use various instructional strategies including presentation, direct instruction,
concept teaching, cooperative learning, problem-based learning, and classroom discussion and
adapt each to meet the needs of diverse students. (INTASC 8)

Learning Outcomes:

Courses in the Literature category must meet a minimum of three learning outcomes. How well the outcomes are met is much more important than the number of outcomes covered by the course. Upon completing the Literature category, students will be able to: 

  1. Reading comprehension
  2. Literary qualities of language 
  3.  Literary devices
  4. Identify and evaluate the contribution of the contexts in which a literary text is produced.
    • social
    • political
    • historical
    • cultural 
  5. Evaluate a critical argument in others’ writing as well as one’s own.


Types of outcomes:

  • Foundational knowledge: understanding and remembering information and ideas
  • Application: skills, critical thinking, creative thinking, practical thinking, and managing projects (e.g., the thermodynamics example above)
  • Integration: connecting information, ideas, perspectives, people, or realms of life
  • Human dimension: learning about oneself and others
  • Caring: developing new feelings, interests, and values
  • Learning how to learn: becoming a better student, inquiring about a subject, becoming a self-directed learner


Analyze: poetry and drama, recognizing common rhetorical elements, tropes, and figures of speech including but not limited to types of imagery, alliteration, metaphor, soliloquies, asides, and irony.

Classify by genre: poetry according to different forms and generic conventions: these include but are not limited to the limerick, the sonnet, haiku, concrete poetry, free verse, and the lyric.

Evaluate:  poetry and drama 

  • literary merit according to established criteria and for their appeal to children.
  • instructional potential for the K-12 classroom, for instance in the aiding of vocabulary development and language acquisition.

Demonstrate understanding (application of knowledge):

  • knowledge of major authors, works, awards, and trends in poetry and drama written for children.
  • possibly design a creative lesson plan utilizing poetry or drama.


Reading and Writing
1. Read critically and write journals, exams, and paper(s) in order to understand literary works on both a
literal and symbolic level; to identify dramatic devices and literary elements to analyze how they function to
reveal theme and to create meaning.
2. Write journals that anticipate character development and plot conflict resolutions, identify generic
conventions and/or departures from them, identify the use of literary elements within the plays and/or generate
creative visual responses or casting of characters as if the director of a play.

Listening and Speaking
1. Participate actively in class discussions and reader's theater, using speaking as a tool for idea generation and
utilizing prior knowledge through small and large group discussion.
2. Learn to listen to, respect, and understand viewpoints of others that may be different.
3. Modulate voice effectively in reader's theater to distinguish differences in character, tone, versification, and
punctuation/type of sentences.
4. Utilize effective oral presentation skills.
5. Verbally summarize and paraphrase effectively.

Thinking and Reasoning
1. Connect personal life experience to the characters' lives; discover the importance and utility of one's life
experience as a tool for interpreting children's literature.
2. Identify levels and shades of meaning figurative language, symbols, and literary elements.
3. Predict probable consequences within plots by recognizing foreshadowing and justify those assumptions.
4. Recognize the relationship between form and content.
5. Generate in written and oral form analyses, explications, and evaluations of children's literature.
6. Synthesize information to generate a documented paper using the MLA format.
7. Distinguish between appeals to works from a child's perspective as well as how children will benefit from
specific genres or works and appeals as literary works.

Information Management
1. Evaluate primary and secondary sources including Internet sources.
2. Use library's on-line catalogue and resources.
3. Demonstrate awareness of breadth of sources.
4. Use sources ethically.

 1. Read, understand, and demonstrate an appreciation of children's literature and the history of children's
literature from different countries and micro-cultures as well as the Euro-American macro-culture of the
United States.
2. Understand the benefits as have been historically thought of introducing children to multicultural and
international literature, especially as a means to understanding heritage, promoting tolerance and
understanding of others, and promoting self-esteem in children of diverse backgrounds.

Civic Responsibility
 1. Ethical -- identify and discuss thematic moral dilemmas that are present in the readings.

Life Skills
 1. Develop knowledge and skills in areas such as creative expression, aesthetic appreciation, personal growth,
and interpersonal communication skills.
2. Learn how to choose appropriate reading material for children to promote reading and all of the many lifelong
skills and benefits that accrue from early childhood reading.

 1. - Explore careers as a teacher or librarian.

Seneca College , Canada

Subject Description
This course introduces students to various texts and sources in the domain of Children's Literature, and gives students the opportunity to discuss the many genres, issues, and theories that pervade the field, while simultaneously helping them gain practice analyzing literature for children with various critical literary elements in mind.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Discuss the morals and values taught by children's literature to identify socialization techniques.
2. Develop a set of criteria to select and evaluate children's books.
3. Examine the relationships between classic children's folk tales and the modern era.
4. Analyze children's literature to discuss the narrative's social commentary.
5. Assess the visual elements of illustrations to identify artwork that enriches the reader's understanding of the text.
6. Define key literary terms to discuss children's literature.

Topic Outline
Students in this course will examine fiction, non-fiction, and picture books. Areas of study within each genre are selected from the following:

  • Why children need stories
  • The history of children's literature
  • Reading and analyzing stories
  • Picture and Picture/Storybooks
  • Survey of the genres of children's literature - fiction and non-fiction
  • Criteria for evaluating children's literature
  • Canadian children's books
  • Social issues (e.g. gender, culture, race, religion)
  • Censorship
  • Literary theory of children's literature

Things to consider/evaluate  when selecting children's literature:

  • Age-appropriateness
  • Structure and pace
  • Clarity and conciseness
  • Rhythm and sound
  • Illustrations and visual elements
  • Bias and message
  • Authenticity
  • Author
  • Literary Awards
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