Postgraduate taught 

Children's Literature & Literacies MEd

Background and aims

Background and aims

This is a new programme and is currently the only Masters programme in Scotland that focuses on Children’s Literature and Literacies. The programme has been designed to introduce participants to the potential of Children’s Literature studies and critical literacies building on any previous experience participants may have either as a student or a professional. It has also been designed to take into account new developments in the production of texts for children through multimodal forms and digital technologies.

Scotland is an ideal place to study children’s literature and literacy. This country is the birthplace of many famous writers who have published for children such as Robert Louis Stevenson, James Barrie, George McDonald and Naomi Mitchison and of award-winning contemporary children’s authors such as Mairi Hedderwick, Theresa Breslin, Cathy Forde, and Joan Lingard. Scotland has also been adopted by current authors such as J. K. Rowling, Julia Donaldson, Anne Fine and Nicola Morgan.

Who is the programme for?

This programme is designed for for specialists with an interest in education, library services, English and Scottish Literature and others focused on a professional and academic perspective in children’s literature and literacies. It includes an educational research core, allowing students to conduct research projects in work and future study. Because of the likely ongoing professional duties of many course members, courses are designed for completion mainly through Saturday study days or evening and online activities.

What will you get from this programme?

From this programme students will gain:

  • A chance to extend knowledge by developing a critical awareness of children’s and young adult literature as a primary resource and a field of academic study;
  • A space for developing and evaluating appropriate methodologies for research-based enquiry in your chosen specialist area;
  • Opportunities to reflect on changing literacy practices and approaches to textual analysis and how these impact on current pedagogical policy and strategy;
  • Practise in dealing with complex issues related to the field which will enable you to demonstrate initiative and actively contribute to the communities in which you work;
  • Preparation for further academic study.

Introductory reading

If you have a chance to do some reading before beginning your programme, any one or more of the following books will be useful as background:

  • Arizpe, E. and Styles, M. (2016) Children Reading Picturebooks. Routledge. 
  • Arizpe, E., McAdam, J. and Farrell, M. (2013) Opening the Classroom Door to Children’s Literature: A Review of Research. In K. Hall, T. Cremin, Comber, B. and Moll, L. (eds)  International Handbook of Research on Children's Literacy, Learning, and Culture. London: John Wiley & Sons pp 241-257.
  • Beckett, S. (1997) Reflections of Change: Children’s literature since 1945, Greenwood Press.
  • Butler, C and Reynolds, K. (2014) Modern Children’s Literature: an introduction Palgrave Macmillan
  • Gamble, N. and Yates, S. (2013) Exploring Children’s Literature Sage.
  • Hoffman, J. V. and Goodman, Y. M. (2009) Changing Literacies for Changing Times. An Historical Perspective on the Future of Reading Research, Public Policy and Classroom Practice, Routledge.
  • Hunt, P. (1991) Criticism, Theory, and Children's Literature, Basil Blackwell.
  • McCulloch, F (2011) Children’s Literature in context, Continuum
  • Meek, M. (1990) On Being Literate, Bodley Head.
  • Reynolds, K (2011) Children’s Literature: a very short introduction OUP
  • Rudd, D (2013) Reading the Child in Children’s Literature: an Heretical approach Palgrave Macmillan
  • Stephens, J. (1992) Language and Ideology in Children’s Fiction, Longman.
  • Warner, M. (2014) Once Upon a Time a short history of Fairy Tale OUP
  • Waugh, D. Neaum, S & Waugh, R. (2013) Children’s Literature in Primary Schools, Sage
  • Whatley-Bedford, A & Albright, L.K. (2011) A Master class in children’s literature: trends and issues in an evolving field, NCTE
  • Zipes, J. (2001) Sticks and Stones: The Troublesome Success of Children's Literature from Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter, Routledge.