Standards for Reading Professionals From My Children’s Literature Syllabus

College of Education

Department of Literacy

Boise State University

ED-LTCY 346- 1154 Children’s Literature

CLICK HERE to see the full syllabus.

Instructor: Michael Strickland, M.A.

Here are the International Reading Association Standards for Reading Professionals as they apply to classroom teachers.

Through participating in this course, you should be able to:

  1. Understand major theories and empirical research that describe the cognitive, linguistic, motivational, and sociocultural foundations of reading and writing development, processes, and components, including word recognition, language comprehension, strategic knowledge, and reading–writing connections (Standard 1.1); in particular, we will address central theories that inform our understandings of how readers engage with a text, including but not limited to reader response theory and critical literacy and, more generally, a constructivist view of learning.

    2. Understand the historically shared knowledge of the profession and changes over time in the perceptions of reading and writing development, processes, and components (Standard 1.2); in particular, we will address the constantly changing landscape of children’s literature and the role that such literature has played and continues to play in effective literacy instruction for diverse learners.

    3. Understand the role of professional judgment and practical knowledge for improving all students’ reading development and achievement (Standard 1.3), use foundational knowledge to design or implement an integrated, comprehensive, and balanced curriculum (Standard 2.1) and use appropriate and varied instructional approaches (Standard 2.2). In particular, we will address the role of the teacher (grounded in knowledge about literature, learning, and learners) in selecting quality literature and effective engagements with such literature for diverse learners. We will engage in a variety of learning experiences that will serve as models for your own best practice (learning through doing) and you will develop and implement a literature-based lesson with learners in your placement classroom.

    4. Use a wide range of texts (e.g., narrative, expository, and poetry) from traditional print, digital, and online resources (Standard 2.3); you will become familiar with a wide range of texts across genres and with resources for selecting high quality texts for elementary and middle school readers.

    5. Recognize, understand, and value the forms of diversity that exist in society and their importance in learning to read and write (Standard 4.1); use a literacy curriculum and engage in instructional practices that positively impact students’ knowledge, beliefs, and engagement with the features of diversity (Standard 4.2) and; develop and implement strategies to advocate for equity (Standard 4.3). In particular, we will focus on multicultural literature that illuminates multiple perspectives with the goal of expanding your understandings and strengthening your ability to select literature that both reflects and expands learners’ experiences. Using a critical literacy perspective, we will explore how engagement with literature can bring about social change.

    6. Understand a social environment that is low risk and includes choice, motivation, and scaffolded support to optimize students’ opportunities for learning to read and write (Standard 5.2); in particular, we will address pedagogical approaches that fully engage learners in engaging thoughtfully with texts in ways that are meaningful to them and that allow them to grow as readers, writers, and thinkers.

    7. Display positive dispositions related to their own reading and writing and the teaching of reading and writing, and pursue the development of individual professional knowledge and behaviors (Standard 6.2). Effective literacy teachers must be enthusiastic, thoughtful readers and writers themselves. By reading and responding to a variety of high quality literature, engaging thoughtfully with other readers, and developing scholarly insights about literature and literacy, you will have the opportunity to grow your own literacy while you grow your knowledge of how to teach children’s literature. You are expected to demonstrate awareness of and mastery of skills you will teach (NCTE/IRA Standards for English Language Arts,; Idaho Common Core Standards for English and Literacy,, and these competencies, both your ability to do and teach, will be developed through class engagements.

Beliefs about learning for my children’s literature class

Experiences in ED-LTCY 346 class at Boise State University are based on the following beliefs about learning: (adapted from Dr. Kathy Short)

Learning is an active process.

o We will immerse ourselves in reading and responding in a variety of ways.

Learning is a social process of collaboration with others.

o We will explore our thinking about our reading through dialogue in small groups. Opportunities for informal interaction and sharing about literature will also occur in both small and whole group experiences.

Learning occurs when we make connections to our own experiences.

o We will respond to literature by making personal connections to our reading and then by exploring and critically examining those responses in literature circles with other readers.

Choices allow learners to connect to their experiences and feel ownership in the curriculum.

o We will have choices in what we read, how we respond, and the specific focus of projects and small group activities.

Learning occurs in a multicultural world that honors many ways of knowing.

o We will explore literature from a multicultural perspective, expanding our understanding of the cultural pluralism in children’s lives and in literature.

Learning is reflective as well as active.

o We will have many opportunities to reflect on what we are learning through writing, art, talking, reflections and self-evaluations.

Learning is a process of inquiry.

o As learners, we search out questions we care about and we develop strategies for exploring those questions and for sharing our learning and understanding with others.

Learners bring a variety of linguistic and cognitive strengths from their families, communities and nations into the classroom; these strengths are resources to be appreciated as such by educators.

Education must expand on the linguistic and cognitive strengths that learners already possess and bring with them to the classroom, rather than ignore or try to replace them with others.

Respect and appreciation for cultural and community knowledge means that universities serve the interest of education when they allow for an exchange of views, rather than rely exclusively on a transmission model of instruction.

Middle schoolers a mystery? An educational seminar with Cynthia Tobias

Click on image to read this book.

Click on image to read more about this book.

The Northwest Nazarene University Wesley Center in partnership with Focus on the Family is pleased to offer an educational seminar for youth pastors, teachers, parents and anyone interested in better understanding the mysterious world of middle school.  The event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Brandt Center on the campus of NNU. Attend in person or participate via online simulcast.

The seminar will feature wit, wisdom and practical advice from Cynthia Tobias, NNU alumna, best-selling author and learning-styles expert. Tobias is co-author of a new book “Middle School: The Inside Story” and a regular guest on the topic for Focus on the Family.
In their book Tobias and co-author Sue Acuña reveal the inside story on puberty, the Internet, romance, faith, grades and homework, and more, while offering practical tips on how to:
• Phrase things so your middle schooler can hear you
• Allow the flexing of wings while applying appropriate discipline
• Know and empathize with your middle schooler’s greatest fears
• Start conversations instead of confrontations
• Understand the “unwritten rules” middle schoolers try to follow
• Detect warning signs of more serious issues
• Build the kind of parent/child relationship your middle schooler needs and wants—even when he or she doesn’t act like it
On September 6, you can look forward to hearing from these two experts, getting questions answered and interacting with other attendees on the above topics and others facing students in this critical transitional period of life.
Early registration closes August 26 and costs $25 with lunch or $15 without lunch. The first 50 registrations receive a free copy of the book. Registration after August 25 is available for $20 without lunch. Register online at For those unable to attend in person, the free simulcast is planned and will be available to join at the same link.
Ever wonder what goes on in the mind of a middle schooler? Come get the inside story.unnamed (1)
Northwest Nazarene University, a comprehensive Christian university, offers over 60 areas of study, 19 master’s degrees in seven different disciplines and two doctoral degrees. In addition to its 85-acre campus located in Nampa, Idaho, the University also offers programs online as well as in Boise, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls and in cooperation with programs in 10 countries. Founded in 1913, the university now serves over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students, more than 6,000 continuing education students, and 2,300 high school students through the concurrent credit program.

What is children’s literature?

A mother reads to her children, depicted by Jessie Willcox Smith in a cover illustration of a volume of fairy tales written in the mid to late 19th century. Source: Wikipedia

A mother reads to her children, depicted by Jessie Willcox Smith in a cover illustration of a volume of fairy tales written in the mid to late 19th century. Source: Wikipedia

Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. . . . Some writers for children deliberately avoid using words they think a child doesn’t know. This emasculates the prose and . . . bores the reader. . . . Children love words that give them a hard time, provided they are in a context that absorbs their attention. – E. B. White

It might be said that a child’s book is a book a child is reading, and an adult book is a book occupying the attention of an adult, writes  Barbara Kiefer is the Charlotte S. Huck Professor of Children’s Literature at The Ohio State University. Before the nineteenth century only a few books were written specifically for the enjoyment of children. Children read books written for adults, taking from them what they could understand, she said.

Today, children continue to read some books intended for adults, such as the works of Stephen King and Mary Higgins Clark. And yet some books first written for children—such as Margery Williams’s The Velveteen Rabbit, A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories—have been claimed as their own by adults.

Defining children’s literature is unexpectedly tricky. “To begin with, what is a children’s book?” asks F. Gordon Roe. It is not, it seems, simply a book written for children. Talking of childhood reading in Victorian times, Roe continues:

Some of the works I shall mention were not primarily written for children at all. So far from the works of Scott and Dickens being looked upon as impositions, they were read eagerly by many juveniles, though some of their elders were doubtful about Mr Dickens, who wrote about quite vulgar folk — even pickpockets!

Children’s literature or juvenile literature includes stories, books, and poems that are enjoyed by children. Modern children’s literature is classified in two different ways: genre or the intended age of the reader.

Children’s literature can be traced to stories and songs, part of a wider oral tradition, that adults shared with children before publishing existed. The development of early children’s literature, before printing was invented, is difficult to trace. Even after printing became widespread, many classic “children’s” tales were originally created for adults and later adapted for a younger audience. Since the 1400s, a large quantity of literature, often with a moral or religious message, has been aimed specifically at children. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries became known as the “Golden Age of Children’s Literature” as this period included the publication of many books acknowledged today as classics.

Books about children might not necessarily be for them. Richard Hughes’s adult classic A High Wind in Jamaica shows the “innocent” depravity of children in contrast to the group of pirates who had captured them. Yet in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, also written for adults, 8-year-old Scout Finch reveals a more finely developed conscience than is common in the small southern town in which she is raised. The presence of a child protagonist, then, does not ensure that the book is for children. Obviously, the line between children’s literature and adult literature is blurred.

Children today appear to be more sophisticated and knowledgeable about certain life experiences than children of any previous generation were. They spend a great deal of time within view of an operating television or other electronic media. According to studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children spend eight and a half hours per day consuming media content, often engaged with more than one type of media at a time. Although 73% of those from 8 to 18 years old continue to read for pleasure, the time they spend on reading is only about three quarters of an hour per day.4 Their exposure to broad media content is therefore significant. News broadcasts show them scenes of war or natural disasters while they eat their dinners. They have witnessed acts of terror, air strikes, assassinations, and starvation. Although many modern children are separated from firsthand knowledge of birth, death, and aging, the mass media bring vicarious and daily experiences of crime, poverty, war, and depravity into the living rooms of virtually all American homes. … In addition, today’s children are exposed to violence purely in the name of entertainment.

Such exposure has forced adults to reconsider what seems appropriate for children’s literature. It seems un believable that Madeleine L’Engle’s Meet the Austins was rejected by several publishers because it began with a death, or that some reviewers were shocked by a mild “damn” in Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. Such publishing taboos have long since disappeared. Children’s books are generally less frank than adult books, but contemporary children’s literature does reflect the problems of today, the ones children read about in the newspapers, see on television and in the movies, and experience at home.

However, the content of children’s literature is limited by children’s experience and understanding.Kiefer talks about how certain emotional and psychological responses seem outside the realms of childhood. For example, nostalgia is an adult emotion that is foreign to most boys and girls.

Children seldom look back on their childhood, but always forward. Stories that portray children as “sweet” or that romanticize childhood, like the Holly Hobbie books that go with cards and gift products, have more appeal for adults than for children.

There is no single or widely used definition of children’s literature. It can be broadly defined as anything that children read or more specifically defined as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or drama intended for and used by children and young people.  Nancy Anderson, of the College of Education at the University of South Florida, defines children’s literature as “all books written for children, excluding works such as comic books, joke books, cartoon books, and non-fiction works that are not intended to be read from front to back, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference materials”.

The International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature notes that “the boundaries of genre… are not fixed but blurred”. Sometimes, no agreement can be reached about whether a given work is best categorized as literature for adults or children. Some works defy easy categorization. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was written and marketed for children, but it is also popular among adults. The series’ extreme popularity led The New York Times to create a separate best-seller list for children’s books.

Despite the widespread association of children’s literature with picture books, spoken narratives existed before printing, and the root of many children’s tales go back to ancient storytellers.  Seth Lerer, in the opening of Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter, says, “This book presents a history of what children have heard and read… The history I write of is a history of reception.”

Editor William Zinsser says:
No kind of writing lodges itself so deeply in our memory, echoing there for the rest of our lives, as the books that we met in our childhood. . . . To enter and hold the mind of a child or a young person is one of the hardest of all writers’ tasks. The skilled author does not write differently or less carefully for children just because she thinks they will not be aware of style or language.


What is your definition of children’s literature?



If You’re Not The Lead Dog, The View Never Changes: A Leadership Path for Young Adults

9781625102287medBe a good role model. To earn respect, it’s important to show that you know your stuff. People will respect and listen to you if they know you are knowledgeable in your field.

Be clear about your rules and expectations. Whether you’re the CEO of a company or the manager of a team of four people, it’s important to make your expectations crystal clear from the beginning.

Leave room for input. Though it’s important to be firm, you should still leave some room for the considerations of others so you don’t look like a dictator. Also, there’s a lot you can learn from your employees, which will help your business thrive.

Reward … for good behavior. To be a good leader, you need to maintain high team morale, and to motivate employees to achieve their goals in a timely manner. Also, rewards can be fun!

Be liked. Though it’s important for your workers to respect you most of all, it couldn’t hurt for them to think you’re a person who is worth spending time with. This will make them more excited to work for you and to have you as their leader! Here are some ways to make sure you are liked: Read more.

Remind your teammates of your skills. Though it’s important not to call too much attention to yourself, don’t be afraid to strut your stuff to let people know why you are the captain of your team.

Establish your rules on day one. Once the introductions are out of the way, it’s important to let your students understand your expectations so they can meet them.

Have fair assessments. Be creative. Show you care. Make clear rules.  Establish yourself as an authority figure. Have a useful system of rewards and punishments. Be a united front with your co-pilot.

Read more.


Recommended Reading:

If You’re Not The Lead Dog, The View Never Changes: A Leadership Path for Young Adults
Why are so many young adults exiting high school and college with minimal leadership skills? Why do they lack some of the very basic but critical leadership attributes–focus, urgency, passion, winning attitude–and more? As the US educational report card continues to deliver marginal results, is there even an awareness of just how important leadership is to experiencing a productive and happy life?

Quiz – What’s Your Leadership Style?


Psychologist Kurt Lewin identified three major leadership styles. Learn which best describes your leadership style in this 18 question quiz.


How Good Are Your Leadership Skills? – Mind Tools


You can start by analyzing your performance in specific areas of leadership. Complete the quiz below to identify where you already lead effectively, and to explore where your skills need further development. In the analysis sections underneath, we’ll direct you to the resources you need to be an exceptional leader.


The Leadership Legacy Assessment: Identifying Your Instinctive Leadership Style


You should worry about your legacy later in your career, at the edge of retirement—right? Not according to Robert41VDf2UlWgL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Galford and Regina Maruca. In Your Leadership Legacy, these authors argue that thinking about your legacy now makes you a better leader today. Based on stories of top leaders who have shaped successful careers, the book explores the art of “legacy thinking,” helping you to formulate a legacy that will exert a positive effect on your work immediately. The authors provide a disciplined approach to framing your legacy, as well as shaping it over time. They start with the idea that your legacy is defined by how others approach work and life as a result of having worked with you. They then demonstrate how to assess your current impact on those around you, strengthen that impact, and pass along the best of yourself in the process. While many leaders “find themselves” and hone their work accordingly only after a major life crisis, Your Leadership Legacy enables all leaders to craft their work and build their legacy unburdened by such crises, and to experience personal satisfaction and achievement throughout their working lives.

Read more about this book: Your Leadership Legacy: Why Looking Toward the Future Will Make You a Better Leader Today


Creativity 101 – What Makes a Good Poem?

Recommended Reading: Writing Poetry from the Inside Out: Finding Your Voice Through the Craft of Poetry, by Sandford Lyne

Recommended Reading: Writing Poetry from the Inside Out: Finding Your Voice Through the Craft of Poetry, by Sandford Lyne

As we begin to look at our poems in more depth, here are some of the rubrics and ideas we will be using:

What makes a good poem? – Short Poems
What is Good Poetry (What Makes Good Poetry)? – PoetrySoup
What Makes a Good Poem? – Marilyn Singer
How to Critique Poetry: 9 Steps – wikiHow
How to Critique a Poem | eHow
How to critique a poem | ebooks4writers
Further, here are some thoughts from: Telling a Good Poem from a Bad One – Daily Writing Tips:

What makes a poem “good”?

The answer ultimately lies with the reader of the poem, but there is a certain consensus as to what makes a poem “good” or “bad.”

According to the critic Coleridge, prose is “words in their best order,” while poetry is “the best words in their best order.

Poetry demands precision. The novelist can get away with less than precise expression from time to time because the story will pull the reader along. The job of the poet is to create a picture in the mind and an emotion in the heart. Every single word counts. The wrong choice–a word with the wrong connotation or the wrong number of syllables or an unlovely combination of consonant sounds–spoils all.

The underlying thought of the poem is also important. Some poems are written to create a picture only, but the most memorable poems also convey a universal truth about the human condition. For me, a “good” poem leaves me with goosebumps along my arms. I think a poem is “bad” when it lacks a discernible point and sounds like prose.

In Writing Poetry from the Inside Out: Finding Your Voice Through the Craft of Poetry, poet and national poetry workshop leader, Sandford Lyne, offers the writing exercises, guidance, and encouragement you need to find the poet inside you. Lyne’s techniques, which he developed through twenty years of teaching poetry workshops, flow from an understanding that poetry is an art form open to everyone. We all can-and should-write poetry.

In this enchanting and inspiring volume, Lyne will introduce you to the pleasures and surprises of writing poetry, and his methods and insights will help you tap into your own unique voice and perspective to compose poems of your own in as little as a few minutes.

Whether you are an experienced writer looking for new techniques and sources of inspiration or a novice poet who has never written a poem in your life, Writing Poetry from the Inside Out will help you to craft the poems you’ve always longed to write.

Andy Warhol – The Complete Picture

9780811857215_p0_v1_s260x420Andy Warhol August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987 was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist.

Warhol’s art encompassed many forms of media, including hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. He was also a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1984, two years before his death. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. He is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons.

Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the widely used expression “15 minutes of fame”. Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is US$105 million for a 1963 canvas titled “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)”. A 2009 article in The Economist described Warhol as the “bellwether of the art market”. Warhol’s works include some of the most expensive paintings ever sold.

Recommended Reading:

Andy Warhol’s Colors Board book – May 17, 2007 by Susan Goldman Rubin (Author)

Learning about colors has never been so hip! In Andy Warhol’s imagination, horses are purple and golden monkeys wear pink baubles on their tails. Through Andy Warhol’s Colors, children willlearn their colors as they discover that in modern art, anything is possible.


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