Should You Be Taking Children’s Literature?

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Taking the Children’s Literature course, offered only to seniors in the third term, could save you more than a thousand dollars. The course is worth three college credits, which are transferable anywhere, and is a $900 UNI course. However, you don’t have to pay a dime if you take it through Waukee High School; not to mention, the high school class also offers the $250 textbook for free, and will offer more guidance and support in a close-knit group while going through it, in contrast to the way that a college course may tackle the book.

The Children’s Literature course is taught by a professor at University of Iowa (UNI) and Ann Hanigan, an English teacher at Waukee High School. The course allows students to get real experience in elementary school style education and has three required readings. The rest of the reading is chosen by the students during one of their visits to an elementary school library.

The class has a requirement of a minimum of ten students, but currently only has three. If students would like to transfer classes to be able to join Children’s Literature in the third term, it’s not too late. They would only need to have a short conference with their counselor, and would most likely be able to take the class very easily. If the class does not reach its ten student minimum, it will not be permitted to be taught this year. Because Children’s Literature is taught by a UNI professor, it may not be able to be taught in the years that follow, as there’s no guarantee that Waukee will be able to get a professor back to teach the class.

Children’s Literature is not just for students who’d like to major in elementary education; the class is helpful to other students, as well.

“Anybody who’s even interested in the class should consider signing up: it’s better to take the course now than to decide to take it later and end up paying–literally. Anybody with an interest in child psychology should take the class, too. It focuses on the way that children’s minds work and what appeals to them,” Hanigan advised.  The three credits that are offered with the class can be transferred to any American college and are required at all colleges nationwide for an elementary education degree.

According to Hanigan, another pro that comes with taking the course is the connection to a member of the UNI faculty. “[…]while in college students are not given opportunities to really get to know their professors in most classes. Since this specific course is so small, the students get to know their professor pretty well.”

A college class? But isn’t that more work than a regular class?

Not necessarily. Hanigan would like for her students to rest assured: the workload is definitely present but should never be overwhelming. In fact, she does not recall a student ever mentioning being swamped with the amount of work that they had been assigned at the time. Nonetheless, taking a short one-term college course for free is undoubtedly an ideal transition into how college courses will work. The class with offer both experience and a way to ensure that elementary education is the path that the student would like to take. And, should the students decide otherwise, they’ll have the chance to reconsider without worrying about the money that they’ve already spent on the course.

“Students have a good time in the class,” Hanigan pointed out. “It’s a college course, but we make sure that the information that they’ll need to succeed and enjoy the class.”

Even if you don’t want to pursue elementary education, the class could still be a good experience and enjoyable to you as a good one term class.

For any student even considering a degree in elementary school education or child psychology, taking Children’s Literature is a must. Taking the course this year rather than later on could save hundreds of dollars and grant genuine experience in schooling that could help further ensure that a student is choosing the path that they’d really like to pursue.  


One of three required reading texts for the Children’s Literature course, Stargirl by Lois Lowry, Poppy by Avi, and Number the Stars by Jerry Spinelli. Photo: Zoe Lenart