Writing for Children

Overview

Do you want to learn how to write for children? Learn from the experts. This practical course will explore the basic linguistic, stylistic and thematic features that characterise good children’s writing. You will consider the core skills needed to write a great book. Through reading, discussion and practical writing exercises you will uncover the secrets of successful writing for young readers (aged eight to twelve.) 

Students will read a short book or extracts from a series of books (handouts provided) before each session and experiment with writing a short piece of their own in a similar style or on a related theme.

Each session will involve an examination of a key technique, a critical discussion of the relevant text, and the student’s creative response to it.

The tutor will provide a summary of the approaches demonstrated in the texts each week. This will build towards a comprehensive ‘tool box’ of techniques for students to use in their own practice.

The focus throughout is on how to engage children through accessible writing. 

Programme details

Week 1:  Introduction to writing for children.

What makes a children’s book a children’s book?

How do adults write for children? 

Week 2:  Finding  your inner ( fictional) child.  Understanding the child reader: what are they like and what do they like? (text extracts) 

Week 3:  Finding your voice 1: Exploring  point of view (text: 'Millions' by Frank Cottrell Boyce, Macmillan 2008).

Week 4:  Finding your voice 2:  Exploring character: the subversive child: ( text: 'Princess BMX' by Maria Basting, Chicken House 2019). 

Week 5:  Finding your voice 3: Exploring character: the investigative child: (text 'Small Change for Stuart' by Lissa Evans, Corgi Children's 2012).

Week 6:  Finding your voice 4: Exploring character: the everyman child ( text: 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone' by JK Rowling, Pottermore Publishing, 2015).

Week 7:  Finding your flow: Exploring how to keep your narrative alive. (text: extracts) 

Week 8:  Finding your story 1 : Exploring the mysteries of plotting – the seven main plots ( text: extracts) 

Week 9:  Finding your story 2:  Exploring the mysteries of plotting – how to organise your thoughts.

Week 10:  Finding your confidence: How do we as adults write for children?  Summary of techniques and approaches learned.

Certification

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Fees

Description Costs
Course fee £230.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00

Tutor

Dr Nicky Browne

Nicky Browne has published eight books for young children and nine novels for older children with Bloomsbury. A tenth novel should be out this year. Her work has been nominated for many awards including the Carnegie medal. She has extensive teaching experience and a PhD in Creative Writing.

Course aims

Students will understand the key stylistic and thematic features of successful children’s writing through their examination of selected texts and will be able to demonstrate the use of these features in their own writing.

Course Objectives

  • To identify the distinctive features of successful children’s writing through the examination of selected texts.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of these features in their own work and the work of others.
  • To demonstrate the use of these features in their own creative practice.

Teaching methods

This course will consist of a weekly, two-hour session with 50% of the session being pre-recorded and made available to students during and after the live sessions. 

Each class will involve group discussion on texts and issues that arise from the text(s), and student presentation of their own creative work. We shall also use workshopping techniques to develop students' critical responses and improve their creative work. Some part of each session will be tutor-directed and delivered through a PowerPoint presentation with handouts.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be expected to:

  • be able to identify the distinctive features of successful children’s writing through the examination of selected texts.
  • be able to evaluate the effectiveness of these features in their own work and the work of others.
  • be able to demonstrate the use of these features in their own creative practice.

Assessment methods

Students undertaking the portfolio option should submit one short  piece of writing (c.500 words) inspired by the books under review as a formative piece and three further pieces of 500 words for written assessment. Option B students should submit one short piece of writing (c.500 words) inspired by the books under review as a formative piece and one longer piece of work of 1500 words.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.

Application

Each course will close for enrolments 14 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (14 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

This course is offered at FHEQ Level 4, consisting of ten 2-hour sessions or the equivalent. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study. This course is worth 10 CATS points at FHEQ level 4.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)