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, lectures 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 before each session, then use what they have learned by writing short pieces to share with the class. 

Each session will involve an examination of a particular type of writing for children, 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 learning how to engage children through accessible writing. 

Programme details

Course begins: 28 Sept 2022

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: extracts)

Week 4:  Finding your voice 2:  Exploring character: the courageous child: ( text: A M Dassu, Fight Back, Scholastic 2022)

Week 5:  Finding your voice 3: Exploring character: the investigative child: (text Robin Stevens, Murder most unladylike Random House Children's Books, 2016).

Week 6:  Finding your voice 4: Exploring character: the representative child ( text: Katya Balen, October, October Bloomsbury, 2021)

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 £269.00
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, Bad Water was published in early 2021. 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

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.

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

Option A 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 two or three further pieces ( up to 1500 word in total) for written assessment.

OR

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 - Declaration of Authorship form

Application

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 enrolment form (Word) or enrolment form (Pdf).

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.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)