Writing for Children
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. We will read and evaluate a range of successful contemporary children’s texts for young readers (aged eight to twelve) to uncover the secrets of their success and put those lessons into practice.
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 a critical discussion of the 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 using comedy, adventure, mystery/intrigue, issue-based stories, fantasy and historical fiction.
Term Starts: 30th September
Week 1: Introduction to writing for children.
What makes a children’s book a children’s book?
How do adults write for children? A brief history of children’s literature up to the present day.
Week 2: Funny books: How to engage children through humour – an exploration of comic writing for children (texts: extracts).
Week 3: Adventure books: How to engage children through excitement and suspense – an exploration of adventure writing for children (text: 'Millions' by Frank Cottrell Boyce, Macmillan 2008).
Week 4 Mystery Books: How to engage children through puzzles and problems ( text 'Small Change for Stuart' by Lissa Evans, Corgi Children's 2012).
Week 5: Gendered books 1: How to engage children through writing for ‘girl’s interests’. An exploration of writing pitched at female readers (text: extracts).
Week 6: Gendered books 2: How to engage children through writing for ‘boy’s’ interests’. An exploration of writing pitched at male readers (text: extracts).
Week 7: Issue books: How to engage children by addressing real-life problems and difficult emotions ( text: 'Ways to Live Forever' by Sally Nicholls, Marion Lloyd Books 2008).
Week 8: Fantasy books: How to engage children through magic, the supernatural and the impossible ( text: 'Charmed Life' Diana Wynne Jones, Harper Collins, 2009).
Week 9: Historical Books: How to engage children through stories of the past (text: 'Freedom' by Catherine Johnson, Scholastic, 2018).
Week 10: How do we as adults write for children? Summary of techniques and approaches learned.
All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.
There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information.
Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.
If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.
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 between January 1st and July 31st after the current 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.
Course fee: £225.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00
Nicky Browne has published eight books for young children and nine novels for older children with Bloomsbury. Her work has been nominated for many awards including the Carnegie medal. She has extensive teaching experience and a PhD in Creative Writing.
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.
- 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.
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 will 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.
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.
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.
To earn credit (CATS points) for your course 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.
Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.
Level and demands
Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course
Sources of funding
Information on financial support