Syllabus for LIT-221



Introduction to Children's Literature is a course designed for adults who care deeply about children and children's books. Recognizing the crucial role adults play in introducing children to the joys of literature, the course encourages and promotes sharing books with children, including infants. The course text, Through the Eyes of a Child, shares this perspective and provides a wealth of information about the history and diversity of children's literature.


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Answer knowledge-based questions about the history and importance of children's literature.
  2. Identify criteria for evaluating children's literature.
  3. Evaluate a wide variety of books available today for children, from newborns to adolescents, according to stated criteria.
  4. Recognize and describe the artistry in children's books.
  5. Discuss issues surrounding children's literature.
  6. Compose essays on various themes related to children's literature.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN-10: 013702875X

Additional learning resources include the textbook's companion Web site ( A link to this Web site is provided in each study activity of the course.

Access to Children's Books

Beginning in Module 2, each reading activity requires you to select, read, and evaluate 5–10 children's books. It is imperative, therefore, that you determine where you'll find access to the many children's books you'll be required to read and evaluate during the semester. Typically, a local library will provide all the necessary materials.


Introduction to Children's Literature is a three-credit online course, consisting of six modules. Each study activity includes a brief overview, a list of learning objectives, activities, and one or more chapter self-tests. Writing assignments in each module include essay assignments and book evaluations. The course also requires you to take two examinations: a proctored midterm examination and a proctored final examination. Module titles are listed below.

Study Activity Topics covered in this module: 1  The Child Responds to Literature

Study Activity Topics covered in this module: 2.1  The History of Children's Literature; 2.2 Evaluating and Selecting Literature for Children

Study Activity Topics covered in this module: 3.1  Artists and Their Illustrations; 3.2  Picture Books

Study Activity Topics covered in this module: 4.1 Traditional Literature; 4.2 Modern Fantasy and Poetry

Study Activity Topics covered in this module: 5.1 Contemporary Realistic Fiction; 5.2 Historical Fiction

6.1 Biographies; 6.2 Informational Books


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete writing assignments, take a proctored midterm examination, and a proctored final exam. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignments due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to posting an introduction to the class in Module 1, you are required to participate in five graded online discussion forums, each focusing on contemporary issues in children's literature.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete eleven written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Six assignments (one per module) consist of essay questions based on your textbook reading; five assignments comprise book evaluations based on the 5–10 books you read for each module.

Grading Criteria

The grading criteria used to evaluate your written work include:

  1. Correct language mechanics (spelling, capitalization, punctuation, etc.).
  2. Correct essay style (introduction, body, conclusion).
  3. Specific substantiation to support all claims and ideas—in other words, give specific examples to illustrate your points.
  4. Effective use of language (words used correctly and appropriately).
  5. Correct sentence structure and paragraph structure.
  6. Interesting ideas—there are no anticipated "right" answers; all ideas are valid as long as they are substantiated and clear.

With respect to your evaluations of children's books, you'll be expected to:

  1. Address specific evaluation criteria drawn from the textbook.
  2. Comment on development levels (language, cognitive, personality, and social).
  3. Incorporate specific examples to illustrate the book's appropriateness at a particular level.
  4. Present a careful assessment.

Preparing and Submitting Assignments

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.


You are required to take two proctored examinations: a midterm and a final. See the Course Calendar for the official dates of your midterm and final exam weeks.

For both of these online examinations you are required to use the University’s Online Proctor Service. Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see the General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to make your scheduling arrangements for both exams within the first week of the semester.

Online exams are administered in the Tests & Quizzes area of the course Web site.

Midterm Examination

The midterm is a closed-book, proctored exam. It is two hours long and covers all reading and activities from modules 1–3 of the course. The exam consists of forty multiple-choice questions and a choice of one essay. The multiple-choice and essay questions are taken from the chapter self-tests and essay activities, respectively. There should be no surprises on this test. It is designed to measure your understanding of the material you have read and studied.

Final Examination

The final is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It is 1½ hours long and covers all reading and activities from modules 4–6 of the course. The exam consists of forty multiple-choice questions and an essay question.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during the exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in your exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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