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EDE 311 Children’s Literature for Early Childhood and Elementary Teachers
Hennessy, Gail B.


COURSE TITLE:  Children’s Literature for Early Childhood and Elementary Teachers











DATES OF THE TERM:  Aug. 22 – Dec. 12 (final Dec. 12, 10:15-12:15)







The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.



Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


COURSE DESCRIPTION:  A survey of traditional and modern literature best suited to children from early childhood through the elementary grades.  An attempt is made to develop an appreciation for prose and poetry suitable for children of different ages.  3:0:3


FACULTY’S EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY:  The instructor’s philosophy is one of interactiveness based on literature readings, lectures, dialogues, presentations, projects, and writings.  The instructor will engage each learner in developing a love for good children’s books, a feeling for the wonderful possibilities of children’s books, the ability to select and use children’s books critically, and the desire to share good literature with children in the classroom.


COURSE OBJECTIVES:   On completion of this course the student should be able to:

  • Acquire an appreciation of children’s literature  (MoSTEP Standard 1.2.1) (ACEI/NCATE Elementary Standards 1, 2, 2.1)
  • Practice oral reading skills  (MoSTEP Standard 1.2.7) (ACEI/NCATE Elementary Standards 2.1, 3.5)
  • Examine, acquire, and inventory a resource file of literature that can enhance a child’s educational experience  (MoSTEP Standard 1.2.4) (ACEI/NCATE Elementary Standards 4, 5.1)
  • Construct a lesson plan using literature as the basis of the lesson  (MoSTEP Standards 1.2.1, 1.2.4) (ACEI/NCATE Elementary Standards 2.1, 3.1. 3.2) 
  • Analyze children’s literature examining the author’s intent, the content, and the illustrations (MoSTEP Standard 1.2.9) (ACEI/NCATE Elementary Standard 5.2)
  • Appraise children’s literature that may be used to further a child’s development intellectually and emotionally  (MoSTEP Standards 1.2.2, 1.2.3, 1.2.9) ACEI/NCATE Elementary Standards 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.5)


            This course does require a substantial amount of reading, writing, and presenting of ideas to your colleagues.  You need to be exposed to as many different books as possible, to learn to “dig deeply” into literature at the professional level, and to think creatively about how specifically to share good children’s books with your future students.  You need to relax, get over any fear of sharing, and enjoy presenting books to others.  All this does take time and effort.  However, most students find that it is an enjoyable kind of work.  The books themselves are a pleasure, and it is fun to think about how we can use them in many ways with children.  Although there is a certain amount of theory and terminology, as is needed in any field to have meaningful discussions with other professionals, this class will be committed to activities including “hands on”.  That means that the focus will be on projects, presentations, discussions, etc., rather than on objective tests.  That usually means more engagement is required of the student, but more is gained in terms of higher order learning, the kind of learning required of professionals.

            Students should, therefore, plan to spend time on a weekly basis on this course (the usual rule of thumb is to plan for at least two hours for every hour spent in class, i. e., an average of six hours a week for this class).      It is suggested that students set reading goals for each week and keep up with them.  Plan weekly visits to at least one good children’s library.  You will need checkout privileges, so a library card is needed.  Libraries and librarians are still the most wonderful resources!  If you put the effort into this course, you will “fall in love” with the world of children’s books.  After that, the rest comes naturally!



COURSE TEXTBOOK(S):  Cullinan, B., & Galda L. (2006) Literature and the Child (6th ed.). New York:  Harcourt Brace.


ACADEMIC HONESTY: “Academic Honesty is required of all members of a learning community.  Hence, Park will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers or other course assignments.  Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from Park.”


PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism—the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one’s original work—sometimes occurs through carelessness or ignorance.  Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult their instructors.”


ATTENDANCE POLICY: Instructors are required to keep attendance records and report absences.  The instructor may excuse absences for cogent reasons, but missed work must be made up within the term of enrollment.  Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.  In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of “F”.  An Incomplete will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.  Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.  Reports of F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will be reported to the appropriate agency.


LATE SUBMISSION OF COURSE MATERIALS: Timely completion is built into some assignment criteria.  Late work of daily assignments will be accepted up to one week late, but the grade will be reduced.  Late submission of reading files will not be accepted and will be recorded as a “zero”.  Late submission of presentations, take-home midterm exam, group presentation, resource notebook, and take-home final exam will result in grade reductions of 25%.  Absolutely no late work will be accepted after the assigned time of the final.  Any missing assignments after the finals date will be recorded as a “zero”.






  1. Class Participation

“Participation” means

    • reading assignments before their due dates so you are able to participate intelligently in discussions.  Everyone is expected to speak up during class discussions, not just a few students.
    • Bringing in children’s books for sharing with the class.  On lecture days bring in examples of books that fit the genre of that week.  The instructor will provide brief sharing or “passing around” opportunities.
  1. Two Book Sharing Presentations
    • Read Aloud:  The first book sharing experience will be a reading of a book selected by the student.  This should be “practiced” as you need to use the elements discussed in class and in the text for an expressive, attention maintaining presentation.  This presentation will be graded on a scoring guide by the instructor and included as part of the final grade.  Classmates will score the reader for a reflective exercise.  A reflection of the reading experience is due at the class session following the reading.  It should be two or more page in length.  This self-evaluation should include: what you think went well, what did not, and what you would do differently next time, your response to the class critiques, and general reflections about what you learned from doing this.  Make sure you have thought out your reflection and present it in a clear professional manner.  You submit this to the instructor the class period after you have read the book aloud to the class.
    • Lesson Plan using a Book:  Students are to read a book using it as the building block for a lesson plan.  A formal lesson plan will need to be followed and the format will be provided by the teacher.  These book sharing presentation should have a formal lesson plan with three distinct parts

                                                               i.      Some motivational activity or device to get the children’s attention, build motivation, and tap into prior knowledge.  It is important to include some open-ended discussion.  This is called an anticipatory set.

                                                             ii.      Reading all or parts of the book in a well practiced, interesting manner.

                                                            iii.      An activity that relates to the book.  Again, incorporate open-ended discussion.  There is a wide range of possibilities, but the activity should do one or more of the following:

1.      Integrate with teaching topics and learning outcomes

2.      Allow students to express themselves creatively

3.      Help students understand the diversity in our society.

4.      Build literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening, critical viewing, visually representing)

For lesson presentations, please submit the following:

            A 2 page lesson plan outlining the activities you did before, during, and after reading (or sampling) the book.  At the top, include a full bibliography for the book.  Follow the format given to you for a formal lesson plan.  Include examples of anything you would give to the children if you were doing this with a classroom.  If a creative project is involved, include a sample or samples.  Please make a copy of your lesson plan for each member of the class as well as the instructor (you do not have to make activity samples for everyone, just the instructor).  If this is not financially feasible, please let the instructor know and she will have it done for you.  Do not be afraid to ask.  These should be submitted the day of your lesson presentation. 

            A self-evaluation that includes:  what you think went well, what did not, and what you would do differently next time, how you decided on the book and activity, how you went about planning, other ideas you may have come up with before, during, or after, and general reflections about what you learned from doing this.  These should be two or more pages.  You submit this to the instructor the next class period following your presentation.

·        Accommodations and/or Adaptations for Special Needs Students in the Regular Classroom

There will be discussions that will focus on the needs of diverse learners.  From the discussions each student will develop a graphic organizer of possible accommodations and/or adaptations that a classroom teacher might use during a children’s literature lesson.  This will be handed in after everyone has done their lesson plan/book presentation.



  1. Children’s Literature Resource File

The resource file consists of brief but focused annotations for 100 children’s books that you have read this semester.  Each annotation should include the following:

·        Full bibliography for each book

·        The genre(s) it may be categorized under.

·        The age level(s) it should be used with.

·        A one-sentence synopsis of the book.

·        Describe what you think is the main strength of the book.

·        Describe, if any, a potential problem or challenge of the book.

·        Unit(s) or topic(s) the book could be used with.


You may keep your file on note cards and store them in a file or on paper and keep them in a notebook.  You may use technology.  You will most likely use at least parts of this file as portfolio artifacts for the departmental portfolio you are working on, so you may use the computer to create the annotations.  It is important that each annotation is done carefully and neatly.



 Since many people use their children’s resource file in their classrooms, the file should be easy to use and organized.  You will notice on the schedule there are dates for “progress checks” on the resource files.  This is to help you avoid procrastination, to give you feedback as to your progress, and to help me avoid being overwhelmed at the end of the semester.



Book Genres and Distribution of Annotations

            Distribute your book cards and your reading, of course, as follows:

·        Traditional Literature/Folklore               15

·        Poetry                                                              15

·        Modern Fantasy/Science Fiction                       15

·        Realistic Fiction                                                15

·        Historical Fiction                                               15

·        Nonfiction/Biography                                        15

·        Your own choice                                              10 (don’t need to be labeled choice

they should be in a genre)

You do not need to organize the genres in particular order, however, it should be a system that you find easy to use and maintain.  Some students choose to go genre by genre, as we discuss them in class.  Others do not.  You may count a book only once in your annotations towards 100 entries, even if it fits more than one category.


At least one-third of your books in each genre (excluding picture books and poetry) should be longer books for older children.   In fiction, these are often called chapter books.  Make time to read some longer books.  If your true interest is in grades 4-6, you probably need larger proportion of such books.  You want to be able to use this resource in your classroom one day.  Think about what would benefit you most.  If you decide to read a majority of longer books and are having a problem reading the number needed, see the instructor for ideas of ways to preview a book without reading every word. 


Look for examples of good children’s literature.  Avoid what is called “grocery store books”.  These are the kinds of books that you buy at a supermarket or discount store for a couple of dollars.  Examples might be Little Golden Book, Walt Disney book, etc.  Be careful with series books.  Some are fine, but others are the equivalent of “pulp” romances (e.g. Babysitters’ Club, Goose Bumps).  If in doubt, consult a librarian, a classroom teacher, or instructor.  However, even in libraries, you will sometimes see this kind of substandard or “commercial” (designed to sell entertainment or merchandise) book for children.  The Cullinan text has an excellent bibliography if you need help.  The instructor will also provide you with others sources for bibliographies of quality.  It is imperative that you select quality literature and not books to simply fill you file.  You will not use inferior books in your classroom but will want literature to inspire, delight, provoke thought, etc. in your students.  Do not settle for less in your resource file.

  1. Resource Notebook

This is an organizational activity arranging teaching materials and lesson plans by the instructor and fellow students.  This is to be submitted the last week of class.  Its organization will be individual preference, but easily understood and deemed functional by the instructor. 

  1. Project-based Take-home Midterm and Final

These exams will actually be open-ended activities that will allow you to integrate ideas from your reading to higher levels of learning.  Early in the course, you will receive a set of options.  You will then select one of these options to complete over the specified time.  Options will vary, but each will stress higher level outcomes:  application to the classroom, analysis, synthesis/creative thinking, and evaluation/critical thinking.  They will be keyed to various MOSTEP and ACEI/NCATE standards so you can use them as “artifacts” in your departmental portfolio.  




CLASSROOM RULES OF CONDUCT: As future teachers, the students in the environment should practice dispositions that are listed in the Philosophy and Frameworks of the Education Department.  Each class participant should be a positive, polite contributor to the classroom. 

            As computers and technology have made writing and revising easier and more productive, they have also created unique problems.  Printers run out of ink and hard drives crash.  Students must be responsible for planning ahead and meeting deadlines.  Be sure to save your work for backup purposes.  


DISABILITY GUIDELINES: Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance.  These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal.  It is Park University’s policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply.  Additional information concerning Park University’s policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page:







Aug. 22

Course intro, Genres in children’s literature, your resource file

Assignment:  Find one or more children’s libraries to work with this semester


Aug. 26

Evaluating children’s books, sharing books with children

Reading:  Cullinan, ch 1 & Appendix E (History of Children’s Lit)  

Select book reading date begins 9-9


Aug. 29

Picture books, Children’s book awards, reading aloud

Reading:  Cullinan, ch 2 & Appendix A (p. 371)


Sept. 2

Picture books, reading aloud, postmodernism

Reading:  Cullinan ch 3, Appendix B, C, and D

Assignment:  Work on RESOURCE FILE, prepare for book reading


Sept. 5

Labor Day – No Class


Sept. 9

 Commercialism, Poetry,  Bloom’s taxonomy, lesson plan

Reading Cullinan ch 4

Book Reading (be sure to turn in reflection the class after your book reading)

Assignment:  Work on RESOURCE FILE   Resource check on Oct. 3.  You should have 35-45 annotations done.  Files will be collected and checked.


Sept. 12

Poetry, Accommodations/Adaptations Bloom’s taxonomy, lesson plan

Book Reading

Assignment:  RESOURCE FILE, Midterm and Final Exam distributed

Mid-term due Oct. 14


Sept. 16

Poetry, Lesson Plan, Accommodations/Adaptations

Book Reading

Assignment:  Select date to read book and lesson plan beginning  Oct. 28


Sept. 19

Traditional Literature, Folklore, Lesson Plan

Reading:  Cullinan, ch. 5

Assignment:  Resource file check Oct. 3.


Sept. 23

Traditional Literature, Folklore, Lesson Plan

Assignment:  Do some pre-planning for your lesson plan, Class discussion and questions about plan Oct. 3


Sept. 26

Modern Fantasy/ Science Fiction

Reading: Cullinan ch. 6

Assignment: Resource file, Mid-term due Oct. 14


Sept. 30

Modern Fantasy/Science Fiction



Oct. 3

Discussion and questions on Lesson Plan

Resource File 1st check – Files will be collected!

Assignment:  Resource file check Nov. 4.  You should have 65-75 annotations.  Resource files will be collected and checked, Lesson Plan Presentation begin Oct. 28


Oct. 7

Contemporary Realistic Fiction; Questioning Techniques

Assignment: Cullinan ch. 7  Mid-term due Mar. 4, lesson plan, resource file


Oct. 10

 Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Teaching Ideas & Resources

Assignment:  Midterm, resource file, lesson plan


Oct. 14

 Lesson Plans, Accommodations/Adaptations, Resources (mini-books), Theme books

Mid-term is due, Share mid-term



Fall Recess


Oct. 24

Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Reading:  Cullinan ch 7

Assignment:  Lesson plan presentations begin Oct. 28, the class session after your lesson plan presentation turn in your 2 or more page reflection,  resource file (65-75) collected Nov. 4


Oct. 28

Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Lesson Plan Presentations

Assignment:  Make sure to take notes on accommodations/adaptations that can be done with each book reading/lesson plan. You will turn in a graphic organizer showing ways to accommodate/adapt for individuals in a classroom.  It will be due Nov. 18


Oct. 31

Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Lesson Plan Presentations

Assignment:  Resource File due Dec. 5, Final & Resource notebook due Dec. 9


Nov. 4

Historical Fiction

Reading: Cullinan ch 8

Lesson Plan Presentations

Collect resource file (65-75) TODAY



Nov. 7

Historical Fiction

Lesson Plan Presentations


Nov. 11

Veterans Day – No class


Nov. 14

Historical Fiction

Lesson Plan Presentations

Assignment:  Graphic Organizer of accommodations/adaptations for diverse learners due Nov. 28


Nov. 18


Cullinan ch. 9

Lesson Plan Presentations


Nov. 21


Cullinan ch 10

Lesson Plan Presentations

Assignment:  Resource file due April 25 (100 or more annotations)

Final & Resource notebook due April 29



Nov. 25

Thanksgiving – No Class


Nov. 28

Cultural Diversity

Collect Graphic Organizer

Reading:  Cullinan ch 11


Dec. 2

Developing Responsive Readers

Reading:  Cullinan ch 12


Dec. 5

Literature-Based Instruction

Reading: Cullinan ch 13 or 14



Dec. 9

Share Final Projects



Dec. 12


Required meeting NOTICE:  Absolutely no late work will be accepted after the designated final date.  Dec. 12 at 10:15



                Daily Attendance                                                 2 points each session

                Chapter Assignments/Participation                               3 points each session

                Interim Resource File Check                                           20 points each (checked twice)

                Final Resource File Check                                               80 points

                Book Reading                                                                      25 points

                Book Reading self-reflection                                            15 points

                Book Reading & Lesson Plan Presentation 25 points

                Lesson Presentation self-reflection                                15 points

                Lesson Plan                                                                          25 points

                Accommodation/Adaptation                                               10 points

                Teaching Resource Notebook                                           15 points