Surrey University Stag

ADVANCED CHILDRENS LITERATURE - 2023/4

Module code: ELIM036

Module Overview

The module offers students the opportunity to learn about children’s literature across a variety of genres and ages, as well as about its historical development and social context. Students are introduced to a range of theoretical approaches enabling them to analyse texts, engage with critical concepts, and develop their own writing both creative and critical. Through participating in class discussions and workshops students will be offered an overview of how to write for children.

The module builds upon the knowledge and skills from students’ BA studies in terms of reading, analysis and writing that could be either critical or creative . It develops these critical and creative skills for subsequent MA modules including the dissertation and aligns with other critical and creative modes in other modules through an analysis of historical context, international diversity and generic forms.  The two-hour workshops address the needs of in-depth writing and analysis at MA level. The extended writing for assessment is appropriate for MA level.




It is good that you have considered students' transitions and how this MA builds upon the BA programmes, but is this applicable to all your students? For example, what if some of your students have done their BA at a different university, slightly different subject (although relatable and as specified in your entry criteria) or country? Would such a description make sense to them? What assumptions have you made for students' prior background and knowledge? You could reflect on some of these points and adjust your text accordingly.  [PE1] [PE1]




At the end of the semester students will produce a work of children’s literature alongside a commentary reflecting upon their creative work OR a critical essay that focusses on three works of children’s literature either from the module or their own choice using the theories, concepts and practices studied.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

WYNNE-DAVIES Marion (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: Q320

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 73

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 44

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None  

Module content

The following areas are indicative of topics to be covered:

* Fairy tales
* Picturebooks
* Picture books
* Classic works
* Controversy
* Adaptation
* Young Adult
* Theoretical approaches including: reader response, gender, psychoanalytic

Examples of works might include: Little Red Riding Hood, The Gruffalo, Max and the Wild Things, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Northern Lights, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Black Powder, The Lie Tree, The Hunger Games

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework CREATIVE PIECE (3000 WORDS OR EQUIV. IN POETRY) PLUS CRIT. ESSAY & COMMENTARY (1500 WORDS) OR CRIT. ESSAY (4500 WORDS) 100

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes.

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills in working as part of a group and practical/professional skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in oral communication. It also assesses subject knowledge in the different forms of children’s literature and cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in developing writing for children.

The essay OR the creative piece plus critical commentary assess subject knowledge in the different forms of writing for children and cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in using the theories of children’s literature to analyse texts. They also assess practical/professional skills in expressing ideas about children’s literature AND/OR writing their own creative work for children and in written communication and transferable skills in working independently and as part of a group.

Students on the English Literature and Creative Writing programme MAY submit a portfolio of creative writing and accompanying self-reflexive commentary for their final assessment. This assessment option allows you to demonstrate:  

* Subject knowledge relating to the close analysis of form, meaning and language of plays and films to demonstrate: .
* Cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking.
* Professional/practical skills in communicating ideas in writing.
* Creative engagement with the opportunities and limitations of a particular mode of writing 
* Creative engagement with the texts and themes discussed on the module
* An ability to locate your own creative work fruitfully and articulately in relation to existing literary traditions and the contemporary field of literary production


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

* End of semester Creative Piece (3000 words or equivalent in poetry) plus critical essay and commentary (1500 words) (100%) OR Critical Essay (4500 words) (100%)


Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback and formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussions, and tutor feedback in seminars, on short pieces (250-500 words of prose, or equivalent in another form) presented as part of the workshopping element of the classes. Each student can expect to present 2-3 such pieces over the course of the semester according to a schedule worked out between the tutor and the student cohort.

Written and/or oral tutor feedback will also be provided on one piece of creative writing (maximum of 1000 words or equivalent for poetry) during the course of the module (the student is free to submit this at any point of the semester). As such, writing, presentation and critical analysis skills will be developed and honed which will feed forward to the summative assessment at the end of the module.

There is the option of a range of other feedback mechanisms agreed between tutor and students in week 1 of the module, such as seminar contribution and writing exercises.

Module aims

  • The module aims to produce within students an in-depth and detailed understanding of: a wide range of children's literature that covers international writing and an awareness of literature from various cultures and backgrounds
  • the ability to analyse and appraise styles and techniques used in children's literature and to apply these critical insights to their own writing practices OR published works
  • the detailed knowledge and skills necessary for writing and/or analysing children's literature that involves independent research using digital resources
  • the ability to apply critical awareness to their own creative writing OR to the works of others, especially in a workshop context
  • the theory and conceptualisation of children's literature critically alongside the practices and published texts produced in relation to it
  • the knowledge and skills for employment with publishers and/ or writing their own works for publication, as well as for teaching
  • that Students on the English Literature and Creative Writing programme who are submitting a portfolio of Creative Work for their final assignment are also being given the opportunity to respond creatively to an assigned writing task, to engage in a creative manner to the works of others, and to gain practice in identifying the ways in which their own writing fits into (and perhaps helps transform our understanding of) the existing literary landscape

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module students will have: gained significant confidence and ability in critical analysis and thinking C
002 Gained the ability to analyse and appraise styles and techniques used in children's literature and to apply these critical insights to their own writing practices and/or the works of published authors KC
003 Acquired the detailed knowledge necessary for analysing children's literature that involves independent research using digital resources and an understanding of international children¿s literature and an appreciation of writing from various cultures and backgrounds K
004  acquired the detailed skills necessary for writing children's literature P
005 Developed the ability to work as a group in the production of collaborative work in the workshop context and increased the ability to apply critical awareness to their own creative writing and/or to the works of others PT
006 Students on the English Literature and Creative Writing programme who are submitting a portfolio of Creative Work for their final assignment to engage creatively as well as critically with the themes, topics and texts on this module PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


  • * Hone and develop students’ writing skills in academic writing, and/or creative writing (writing for children) by helping students understand the context of children’s literature 
    * Assist students in locating children’s literature and their own critical and/or creative work in historical and cultural contexts by developing a stronger sense of the materials and techniques available, and begin to develop their thinking in the context of writing for children across ages, genres and diverse cultural backgrounds
    * Equip students with the research and writing skills they will need to produce critically informed academic writing and/or creative writing (writing for children) and creative criticism by helping them gain significant confidence and ability in critical analysis and thinking and/or an ability to use specific compositional skills that will have practical application to their practices as writers of children’s literature. This will particularly assist them in understanding how their work may enhance their employability skills both in terms of publishing and teaching
    * Facilitate students’ productive reflection on both the creative process and the finished work by helping them gain significant confidence and ability in critical analysis and thinking, and an ability to use specific compositional skills that will have practical application to their practices as writers, both academic and creative
    * Support student learning through the visit of two professional writers who explain how they developed their own writing and were successful in being published, as well as answering students’ own questions about their creative and critical work.
    * Overall, students will learn about Children’s Literature via a range of online materials and through workshops in order to develop their knowledge base and skills in a creative and scholarly environment.  By working in groups students will learn how to produce work that is imaginative and based on an understanding of what makes children’s literature successful.



The learning and teaching methods include a combination of lecture materials, seminars, captured content, guided learning and independent learning.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELIM036

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Creative Writing MA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
English Literature MA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.