Learning to Write for Children

Every night you read your child a bedtime story. Sometimes you read the same book night after night. Have you ever read one of those children’s books and thought to yourself, “I can write something better than this?” Well, maybe you can! But before you start typing your future bestseller, you might want to consider taking a writing class. They’re easy to find, and it will help you learn how to write for children–which is harder than it looks! Don’t worry. Many local colleges and adult education courses offer children’s writing classes to adults. Once there, you will learn proper techniques for writing stories and poetry, and you’ll have a better chance of being published. After all, millions of people try to write for children, but very few take the proper steps to learn how to write a marketable story or book.

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If you are interested in a distance education writing class, you might consider the Institute of Children’s Literature. Although somewhat expensive, this correspondence course has been around since 1969. Located in West Redding, CT, many of its graduating students have gone on to have their work published. The Institute offers convenient payment plans to students who are accepted into the program. Yes, you have to “audition” first. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t let everyone into their writing school.

Are you interested in pursuing an advanced degree without straying too far from home? Consider pursuing a writing degree at a school such as Spalding University, located in Louisville, KY. Spalding offers a brief-residency program leading to an MFA in Creative Writing. Students have the option of concentrating in Children’s Writing. The program consists of four semesters and five residencies. Students do not have to relocate to Louisville, they merely have to travel to Louisville for the residencies that consist of 10 days each. During each residency, students attend workshops, conferences, lectures, readings, and panel discussions. You’ll have to shell out quite a bit of money for this program, but you’ll end up with a master’s degree, equipping you to write and teach at the college level. If Spalding University doesn’t float your boat, there are plenty of other universities that offer brief-residency MFA programs. Go to google and search for other schools that may be more to your liking.

Gotham Writer’s Workshop teachers 6,000 students annually in its online and New York City classes. The workshop was founded in 1993 by two writers, Jeff Fligelman and David Grae. Online classes began in 1997. These internet courses are “interactive, craft-oriented classes and resources for writers.” Half of the students enrolled at Gotham attend online classes. The school offers a course for children’s writers, as well as classes in other genres. At the time this article was written, tuition for first-time online students in the Children’s Writing Workshops was $395 plus a $25 registration fee. The workshops last 10 weeks. Check out the school by visiting www.writingclasses.com

The well-known author and teacher Anastasia Suen offers a series of writing workshops for children’s writers at her web site http://www.asuen.com. Courses include workshops on writing children’s pictures books, children’s easy readers and chapter books. At the time this article was written, intensive workshops cost about $300 and last one month. The classes are conducted entirely by email.

Universalclassonline.com features children’s writing classes offered by Margaret Shauers. Her current courses include Children’s Fiction: In-depth Plotting, Write Short Stories for Children, and Write Tidbits for Tots Through Teens. Course tuition ranges from $30 to $85. Her prices are reasonable, and the course is self-paced.

Writers who dream of penning the next Young Adult bestseller might want to consider signing up for Lauren Barnholdt’s course. This successful writer for teens offers classes to those who aspire to do the same. Visit her web site at http://www.laurenbarnholdt.com/classesandconsultation.htm for information concerning tuition and class availability.

Okay. These are just some of the options available to adults who dream of writing for children. Many more online and brick-and-mortar schools just might offer what you are looking for. Do your research, find a class that suits your needs, and start writing! Who knows? Maybe someday your book will be read night after night after night to a child who just can’t sleep without hearing your story one more time.