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Childrens Writing

Course CodeBWR104
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Improve Your Children's Writing Skills

Children are demanding readers, and require texts developed to address their needs and interests. In this course, you'll draw on standards in child psychology and education to understand how a child's mind works, how to focus their interest, and how to create engaging and authentic stories for younger readers.

Throughout this course, you'll develop craft skills, study revision techniques, and learn how to build a story. You'll also discover the differences between genres, age-based needs, and what makes a story tick.

Save SaveStudent Comment: I never considered children’s writing very stimulating, until now. ~ Janine

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Understanding Children, their thoughts, needs, development.
  2. Overview of Children’s Writing
    • Categories (fiction & non-fiction), understanding the market place; analyse and understand what is needed for the different categories, etc.
  3. Conceptualisation
    • Conceiving a concept where and how to find inspiration/influence.
    • Developing a concept, how to plan.
  4. Children’s Writing for Periodicals
    • Children’s pages in magazines, newspapers, etc.
  5. Short Stories
  6. Non-Fiction
    • Texts (writing to satisfy curriculum).
    • Other (e.g. nature, history, biography, hobbies).
  7. Fiction
    • Settings;
    • characterisation;
    • fantasy;
    • science fiction;
    • adventure.
  8. Picture Books and Story Books
  9. Editing your work
    • Grammar;
    • spelling & punctuation;
    • Improving clarity;
    • Cleaning out clutter;
    • Expansions.
  10. Project
    • write a short story, picture book or children's page for a (hypothetical) periodical.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Describe children’s cognitive development and target writing to be appropriate to various developmental stages.
  • Explain the nature and scope of writing for children.
  • Describe the process of planning a written manuscript of children’s writing.
  • Describe the planning and processes involved in writing articles for children’s magazines.
  • Develop a short story for children to read.
  • Discuss the specific requirements associated with writing children’s non-fiction.
  • Describe the various categories of children’s fiction and the writing processes involved.
  • Explain the scope and nature of literature aimed at young children.
  • Explain the scope and significance of editing skills and processes for children’s writing.
  • Plan, evaluate, edit and present a piece of writing for children.

What You Will Do

  • Develop lists of imaginary titles and brief descriptions of stories that would be appropriate in your society (or country) for children of different age groups.
  • Analyse the page(s) in a text aimed at children in terms of language complexity and style, conciseness of the writing, content, graphic layout, etc.
  • Determine concepts for children’s writing.
  • Develop outlines that would help you to write about each concept.
  • Develop a set of guidelines (or a plan), that a writer should follow in regular preparation of a children’s page in a newspaper. Consider what, in your opinion, is the purpose of a children’s page in a daily newspaper.
  • Discuss how you would approach writing a comic, and why you think this would be the best approach for you?
  • Write short articles or stories, suitable for situations such as:
    • An educational magazine.
    • A preschooler or infant school age magazine.
    • A teenage boy or girl magazine.
  • Write a short story.
  • Identify a non-fiction book for children which you would consider yourself suited to write.
  • Write an outline for a proposed non-fiction book. In your outline, you would include a list of major subject areas (or chapters) that the book would cover and a brief description of the content of each chapter. Include a brief description of how the book would be illustrated (i.e. are photos appropriate, or line drawings, paintings, etc?). You would then write one or two pages for your non-fiction book.
  • Write a fantasy, adventure or science fiction short story for a 7-8 year old, which fits specified criteria.
  • Write a story for a 5-6 year old child.
  • Edit some sample short articles.
  • Plan, then write, a children’s short story, a picture book or children’s pages for a newspaper.

How to Get Published as a Children's Author 

Learn to turn a child's mind upside down!

Self publishing on the internet is relatively easy and a good way to start; but to progress and actually make money from children's writing will require a certain degree of skill and creativity.

Writing for children may not be easy at first, and getting published can be difficult with out guidance to develop your craft - and perhaps a little lick.

Editors are receiving so many manuscripts from would-be children’s writers that many are strictly limiting what they will accept. Many publishers will no longer accept submissions for picture books. With so much to choose from, and so many publishers, the children’s book market is highly competitive and editors can afford to demand high quality and uniqueness.

Many editors will only consider books that they know will sell well. Some publishers might accept an exceptional book or one that is different on the chance that it becomes a new best-seller, but most have exacting requirements, and the writer must do the research needed to know what the publisher wants. On the other hand, publishing is a changing business, reflecting the sometimes rapid changes in readers’ tastes and expectations and reading levels. For example, children are much more likely to read what is called ‘high fantasy’ (which involves the creation of a whole alternative world) since the Harry Potter books by J.R. Rowling and the series by Lemony Snicket have become so popular and a new generation has been introduced to the wonderful Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien.

Before starting out as a children’s writer it is important that you clearly identify the age group and the category (often called genre) that you wish to write for.

CATEGORIES OF CHILDREN’S WRITING

As with other writing, children’s writing is broadly divided into fiction and non-fiction. Keep in mind, though, that children are in the process of developing their awareness of reality and may not perceive the difference between the real world and fantasy in the same way that adults do. Below are some common categories of writing for children:

  • Picture books – 6 months - 5 years. Picture books for babies and toddlers are hardcover board books with a few basic words and lots of colourful illustrations. Usually designed to teach the child basic concepts, e.g. farm animals, opposites, numbers. Picture books for older children are longer, more complex and written to entertain, as well as educate.
  • Story books – Short fiction stories for younger children. Colourful pictures are still important but plot and characters are also important features.
  • Novels – Longer fiction stories for older primary and high school children.
  • Short Stories – Published in children’s magazines, or in books (either as short story collections by one author or several authors).
  • Activity books – Magazine-style publications with interactive activities, such as puzzles, colouring in, stickers, short stories. Highly visual, sometimes based on an educational theme (e.g. wildlife) or on popular TV characters.
  • School/text books – Either written specifically to fulfill a pre-determined school curriculum or as a supplementary text. Generally requires that the author has expert knowledge on the subject (and possibly, although it is not an essential prerequisite, a teaching background).
  • Comics – Sometimes written for educational purposes (e.g. to explain traffic safety to a young reader), but usually written solely for entertainment. Highly visual, usually requires that the author is a skilled cartoonist and can write in a very concise, humorous manner.
  • Poetry – Poetry written for children is published in children’s magazines, or in anthologies (collections of poems by different authors).
  • Children’s Pages (in newspapers or magazines) – These are a mix of things, including activities (such as a crosswords), poetry, colouring-in competitions, letters from children, etc.

Comments from our Writing Students

"I found the course to be extremely helpful. It has given me the confidence and skills to present my work to publishers."
- Dilys

"The course demonstrated to me what I enjoyed writing about, the types of writing I was good at, and not so good at. It broadened my horizon to show me what was out there to write about. It gave me knowledge and confidence. I have continued to write, and in the future want to commence with the next course, but in the meantime, I have submitted various articles of mine to some magazines and have had nothing but positive feedback from all the editors and some of my work is to be published!! Which I personally feel is fantastic as I have only been doing this for a year or so. Thank you for opening up a whole new world of creativity to me which I can only enhance upon!!"
- Jo


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Meet some of our academics

Adriana Fraser Adriana has been a professional writer since the 1980's. She was a regular contributor to Australia's Grass Roots magazine for more than a decade, and in the 90's wrote a biography of one of Victoria's pioneering women. She has contributed to newspapers, magazines and newsletters for decades, and seen hundreds of pieces of her work published across Australia and beyond. Today, she is a regular contributor to Home Grown magazine, and part of the stable of authors who work on developing ebooks for ACS publishing division. She has been a tutor with ACS since the mid 1990's and has also been contributed to the development of course notes for several different education institutions. Qualifications -Cert.Child Care., Adv.Cert.App.Mgt., Cert in Assessment and Training., Cert.Hort., Adv.Dip.Hort.
John Mason John Mason is one of Australia's most prolific writers. He saw his first work published when at secondary school, where he worked on the school magazine. In 1973 he was writing a weekly column for his local newspaper and by 1975 he was a regular contributor to Australia's national magazine "Your Garden". John was engaged by Victoria's Dept of Youth, Sport and Recreation to write a book on Fun and Fitness Trails in 1978. In 1981 he saw two more books published (one in America, another in Australia), and commenced writing regularly for the Self Sufficiency Magazine, Grass Roots. John is a long term member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Garden Media Guild (UK) and the Horticultural Media Association (Australia). He has written or contributed to over 100 books, many published by international publishers and published more than 2,000 articles across a range of genres (Gardening, Education, Business, Farming, Fitness). In addition, John has contributed to and overseen the development of more than 600 distance education courses which encompass around 20 million words. He has been an avid photographer for 40 years, building a collection of over 100,000 images, which are used to illustrate his work. His marine animal photos are even used by Legoland in England, on their Atlantis ride! Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.
Rachel SyersRachel has worked as a newspaper journalist for the past 15 years in a range of roles from sub-editor and social columnist to news reporter, covering rounds such as education, health, council, music, television, court, police, Aboriginal and Islander affairs, and agriculture. Her current role is Fashion Editor, features writer and features sub-editor with The Gold Coast Bulletin. She has co-authored a successful biography "Roma: From Prison to Paradise" about former prisoner-of-war turned yoga guru, Roma Blair, as well as freelanced as a writer, reviewer and researcher for Australian music and celebrity magazines such as WHO Weekly, Rave, Australasian Post and New Idea. Rachel has a B.Journalism.
Peta Jinnath AbdulB.Sc., Grad.Dip.Ed., M.Creative Writing


Check out our eBooks

Professional WritingHow many people dream about becoming a professional writer? Professional writing is any writing that you are being paid for. It can include fiction writing, a best-selling book, articles in a magazine, articles in a newspaper, blogs for companies, technical manuals, copy for catalogues, newsletters, text books, other academic material and so on. However, many people just write for sheer pleasure. A must read for anyone wanting to make money from writing. 63 pages
Creative WritingCreative writing is relevant for both fiction and non fiction, and in any place where you write, from business writing to technical reports and children's books. Writing that is creative will usually be more interesting, communicative and effective. Through this book you explore both how to be more creative, as well as how and where to use it.
How to be a Successful EditorLearn all of tips for editing success from the experts! This 60 page ebook will give you lots of tips on becoming a successful editor.
Writing for ChildrenThe Writing for Children ebook is aimed at writers or people who want to write for a young audience but aren't quite sure where to start. Get to know more about writing for this age group, including the use of appropriate language and context.