Education department updates children’s literature minor


Books such as “Where the Wild Things Live” and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” have inspired generations of young readers with stories of imagination and adventure.

If you’re someone who’s interested in writing or illustrating children’s books of your own, then you’re in luck thanks to the children’s literature minor that is now being updated by the by the education department at Saint Vincent College.

While the children’s literature minor has already been available through the English department, the program is being turned in a new direction by the education department.

Mary Beth Spore, associate professor of education, teaches several courses within the minor.

She commented on the new direction that the program is taking.

“It’s kind of having a resurrection…and [the education department] asked me to be the go-to faculty member because I teach most of the classes,” Spore said.

She also said that there wasn’t significant interest in the previous minor because the English department didn’t “really recruit for it.”

The minor offers several new courses to students, including “Historical Literature for Children” that Spore is offering for the first time this upcoming Spring semester.

The college also currently offers a minor in children’s studies, which is an interdisciplinary program inspired by the work of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media.

“Given that whole initiative with the Fred Roger’s Center, the education department wanted to revive and keep the children’s literature minor,” Spore said.

Additionally, the department of communication offers a course called “Children and the Media.” Spore said that the department of communication will soon potentially offer courses such as “Digital Illustration” geared towards the minor.

Spore says that there is plans to add a course dedicated to “children’s book illustration” that would be offered in conjunction with the art department.

“To kind of broaden out some of the offerings with the children’s literature minor, I think would make it even more attractive to students,” Spore said.

Such potential offerings include courses dedicated to children’s legends and fairy tales, fantasy and science fiction.

“The opportunities that I have to enhance the minor through the new department are exciting to me,” Spore said.

Some students who have gotten the minor are not necessarily students who want to be teachers or who want to write children’s fiction, Spore said.

“They tell me ‘my life will always involve children…I love children and I love their literature, I want to know more about it…I want the minor to be for me,” Spore said.

Interested students should contact Mary Beth Spore at 724-805-2951.

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