Online master's degree programs in education that include courses in children's literature are available, although relatively uncommon. Fully online graduate certificate programs are also offered, and admission to these programs may require a master's degree. An alternative is to look for hybrid (a combination of online and on-campus) programs, which are more common at the master's and graduate certificate level.
Some schools offer professional development courses in children's literature to teachers and other educational professionals, whether or not these professionals are enrolled in a degree program. Applicants into these programs must have a prior bachelor's or master's degree and some require professional experience. Master's degree programs may include a final research project in addition to online courses in children's literature and curriculum.
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Children's Literature
A certificate in children's literature is designed for people who wish to inspire young readers to appreciate literary works. A bachelor's or master's degree plus additional coursework in literature may be a prerequisite for enrollment. Certificate candidates learn to recognize motifs in literature to teach young people to understand literary meanings. Experience in using technology for research and web page development may be required.
Program Information and Requirements
Students can register for courses online during any academic semester. Coursework is specific to youth literature styles of classic and contemporary authors. Various genres of children's literature are studied for various critical perspectives.
Assignments are scheduled by instructors through the school's online learning system. Students complete and submit assignments online. Technical assistance can be available through online chat or phone support. Resources for research and assignments are available through the school's online catalog and databases.
List of Common Children's Literature Certificate Courses
In an age of technology and online media, this program teaches students how to encourage young people to appreciate literature's heritage. Coursework includes literature research online and in print, classic children's literature, and modern-day authors.
Reading Picture Books
Students learn how to teach children to find meaning in picture books. Class participants study the process of the creation of a picture book from sketches and storyboard to format and layout.
Fantasy and Fiction for Children
Teaching fantasy and fiction literature to middle and high school students is part of this course curriculum. Students read and discuss works from authors such as Hans Christian Andersen, William Sleator and J.K. Rowling to explore literary responses.
Students are trained in strategies to research print and electronic literary works, including biographical and genre studies. This course teaches students how to help young people conduct and evaluate research.
Myths and Legends
Students explore mythological elements in text and illustrations in books for children and young adults. Legends, folktales and contemporary myths are studied in how these stories are written and delivered today.
Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Children's Literature
Teachers and librarians who seek to improve strategies in teaching children's literature enroll in this program. Students are introduced to authentic assessment tools specific to literature. Instructors may demonstrate strategies for modifying instructional plans to accommodate diverse cultures and students with special needs. Coursework fulfills the goals of continuing development credit for educators.
Program Information and Requirements
This program can typically be completed within two years. Courses in curriculum design and philosophies in teaching and learning are part of the core coursework. Literature courses focus on reading strategies and on authors and titles that children may read.
Assignments are scheduled and submitted through an online learning program. Students have access to online research and campus library services. Technical support is available through phone calls or online instant messaging.
List of Common Curriculum and Instruction in Children's Literature Courses
Coursework in this program addresses curriculum design and instructional strategies for teaching young students effective reading skills. A final project on research in children's literature may be required.
Contemporary School Curriculum
Students analyze educational reform issues to design a curriculum that meets state and national goals. Identifying strategies to introduce new content in a curriculum is one subject of the class.
Young Adult and Children's Literature
Literature for students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade is reviewed to determine appropriate content for different age and learning levels. Emphasis is on the role of literature in children's lives.
A project on a specific issue in children's literature is required in the final semester of the program. The project should include a specific issue in literature and a proposed solution.
Career Information for Graduates
Professionals who benefit from holding a certificate in children's literature include teachers, librarians and writers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), kindergarten and elementary school teachers could expect job growth of 6%, about as fast as the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024. Librarians could expect job growth of 2%, slower than the average for all occupations, during the same decade, and writers could expect job growth of two percent.
For kindergarten teachers, the median salary as of 2015 was $54,640, while elementary school teachers had a median salary of $54,890. Employment growth for writers is expected to increase, but competition will likely be high as companies that employ writers downsize. The median salary as of 2015 was $60,250 for writers, according to the BLS.
Graduates with a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction qualify for positions as instructional coordinators or curriculum specialists. Job opportunities are considered to be favorable, particularly for reading, math and science specialists who must revise curricula to adhere to the No Child Left Behind standards. Instructional coordinators' median yearly salary was $62,270 as of May 2015, as reported by the BLS (www.bls.gov).
Although not too common, online master's degree and certificate programs for children's literature are available through online study. They offer in-depth courses for current educators and librarians interested in exploring various types of literature and how to use them to teach children.