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BYU Course Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate effort and discipline in crafting prose and verse for a young readership and display a knowledge of relevant conventions.
  2. Read models for picture books, middle-grade novels, and young adult stories analytically, with an eye to authorial intention and technique and be able to articulate the same.
  3. Use correct grammar, punctuation, and an appropriate style in genres for younger readers.
  4. Write a variety of pieces for younger readers using literary models and following explicit instructions from the teacher.
  5. Revise intelligently, edit carefully, and share one’s work with others in the class.

Learning Outcomes

This course should help you in a number of ways, but first and foremost it should help you understand the mechanics and possibilities of writing for young readers. You will write a number of short pieces for a varied audience. Some of these you will select to polish and prepare for submission to a publisher. My hope, if it is also yours, is that you will have published something you produce for this course.

More formally, when you have completed this course, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Identify the essential qualities of good writing for children and adolescents.
  2. Write short fiction or nonfiction for a variety of audiences.
  3. Polish and prepare a manuscript for submission to a publisher.
  4. Explain the various markets and audiences available.

The pre-requisite for this course is ENGL 218: Creative Writing (or equivalent).

Course Materials

  1. The most recent edition of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market (by Writer’s Digest Books).
    1. Note: This book comes out yearly and is a valuable resource if you are serious about publishing. You may also be able to access copies of this book at your local library.
  2. Wyndham, Lee. Writing for Children and Teenagers. Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest Books, 1989.
  3. Crowe, Chris. From the Outside Looking In. Bookcraft, 1998.

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Portfolio Assignment Submission Outline

You will submit six portfolios during this course (each worth a combined total of 15 percent of your grade). Each Portfolio submission will consist of two separate document submissions (File 1 and File 2). Before you submit work in a portfolio, compile your work into two separate documents. Be sure to label each assignment section within the documents carefully. Each of your portfolio submissions should contain the following assignments:

First Portfolio Submission

First Portfolio File 1

Lesson 1:

Lesson 2:

First Portfolio File 2

Lesson 1:

Lesson 2:

Lesson 3:

Second Portfolio Submission

Second Portfolio File 1

Lesson 4:

Lesson 5:


Second Portfolio File 2

Lesson 5:

Lesson 6:

Third Portfolio Submission

Third Portfolio File 1

Lesson 7:

Lesson 8:

Lesson 9:

Third Portfolio File 2

Lesson 7:

Lesson 9:

Fourth Portfolio Submission

Fourth Portfolio File 1

Lesson 10:

Lesson 11:

Lesson 12:


Fourth Portfolio File 2

Lesson 10:

Lesson 11:

Lesson 12:

Fifth Portfolio Submission

Fifth Portfolio File 1

Lesson 14:


Fifth Portfolio File 2

Lesson 13:

Lesson 15:

Sixth Portfolio Submission

Sixth Portfolio File 1

Lesson 16:

Lesson 17:


Sixth Portfolio File 2

Lesson 17:

Lesson 18:

I suggest reading the instructions in each portfolio folder before you begin each unit so you know how to organize your portfolio assignments. Also, make sure you keep a backup copy of all your assignments, I’d hate for you to lose work because of computer problems Note: You may not submit more than one full portfolio assignment per week.

Self Check

The Self Check exercises that appear at the end of most lessons are intended to help you internalize the lesson and reading material. In order for you to get the most out of this course, it is very important that you complete these. I have included the page numbers from Writing for Children and Teenagers that contain the information needed to answer each question.

Portfolio Assignments

You will submit all of your completed Portfolio Assignments (and SNEWs) electronically through BrainHoney. This course uses Turnitin (plagiarism checker technology), which lets you post your assignments online for me to grade. The first time you use Turnitin, you will need to agree to the “Terms of Use” agreement. Please do that, or you will not be able to submit your asignments. Once you've completed that, you will be able to submit assignments by:

  1. Going to the specific assignment within the course, and clicking the Uploadbutton missing image.
  2. Typing a title for your assignment (for example, ENGL320R_JaneSmith_File1SubmissionAssignment).
  3. Clicking Select the file to upload, or drag the file onto the Submit File window.
  4. When the submission is complete, preview your file, then click Accept submission-save.

Hint 1 : Click the "summary tab" within your assignment for more information about grading, instructions, dates, resubmissions, and originality reporting. You will notice that the "summary tab" has a due date (most likely set up as Dec 31, 2020) for the assignments. Ignore the dates. It is a Turnitin feature that does not apply to BYU. You will know that your assignment has been graded when the score appears in the grades section of this course.


In a creative writing course, you should expect to write. I certainly expect you to write, to write well, and to write often. To help you maintain or build the writing habit, I require that you write Something New Every Week (SNEW). This will not always be, of course, a finished, polished piece of writing, but it will be the beginning of something. Writers are people who write, and the SNEW rule will force you (if that’s possible) to write regularly. Many of the SNEWs will not lead to anything in particular, but some will certainly be the start of a writing project that holds potential. Think of the SNEWs as a testing ground, a practice field, an outlet for new ideas and creativity.

You will submit all (or at least 18) SNEWs—six with every other Portfolio assignment. After you write these, keep them in a safe place.

I will read your SNEWs, but I’ll make only general comments at the end of each one. Again, these are merely exercises and training ground to give you non-threatening writing practice and to help you build the habit of regular writing. Don’t expect much, if any, feedback on these.


Some of the lessons contain freewriting writing exercises. Freewriting (a.k.a. quick writing or rush writing) is many things: a warm-up exercise, a problem-solving device, a discovery exercise, a testing ground, a discipline builder, a drafting technique.
These are the rules for freewriting:

  1. Give yourself a time limit, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.
  2. Write quickly without worrying about errors.
  3. Do not stop writing.

If you haven’t done much freewriting before, you’ll probably be a little uncomfortable at first, but as you write, you’ll get use to it. Just keep telling yourself that freewriting isn’t supposed to be perfect; it’s merely an exercise designed to accomplish a writing or thinking task. The only way to do freewriting wrong is to not write.

Some of your freewrites will be turned in with Portfolio assignments.

Polished Projects

Some of the work you submit will be the revised and polished drafts of stories, articles, or plays that you have written. These must be typed and double-spaced. You should pay special attention to these assignments to make sure they represent your best work. In each of these, I will look for creativity, accuracy in responding to the assigned task, and incorporation of the principles discussed in the lessons leading up to the assignment.

Unfortunately, with the constraints of this course, I cannot read or respond to complete novel manuscripts. If you’re working on a novel, bravo! But please submit only chapters that meet the assignment requirements outlined in the individual lessons. I also am not qualified to judge or respond to artwork. If you’re writing picture books, you should know that publishers insist on assigning artists to book manuscripts. It is very rare for authors to illustrate their own texts. So please don’t send me any novel manuscripts, lengthy excerpts from novel manuscripts, or artwork.

Appendix A: Writing Ideas

In Appendix A of this course manual is a list of writing ideas for you to use or ignore as you see fit. I have provided them to assist you when you simply cannot think of anything to write for your freewrites and SNEWs. Feel free to modify the suggestions in any way that suits you or your writing project.

Online Library Services

This English course has a valuable online library services portal. The online portal to the BYU Harold B. Lee Library accesses specific coursework resources such as research guides, online access to full-text articles, research tips and tools, a writer’s toolbox, a link to the online catalog, Book and Articles Delivery Service, subject librarian contact information, Ask a Librarian LIVE real-time chat service, and a feedback form.

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This exam consists of 21 questions; 20 short answer questions and one short writing exercise. It is closed book and notes. There is no time limit, but most students finish within 1.5 hours.

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The maximum score for each submitted assignment is 15 points/percent. The score will be based on completeness (everything required has been completed and submitted) and quality (your work incorporates the principles discussed in the lessons and reflects serious effort, creativity, and polish).
Submitted assignments that are incomplete or poorly done will be returned marked “resubmit.” To receive credit for that assignment, you must rework it and resubmit it according to the instructions on the resubmission cover sheet.

The final examination is worth 10 points/percent. That makes the total possible for the course 100 points. I will determine your grade using the following scale:

Grading Scale


































E (fail)


or below

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Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work. This may also include when a student copies and pastes directly from another source and passes it off as his or her own, copies computer-generated text from a translation tool and uses it as his or her own, or fails to cite a source after loosely summarizing its content in his or her own words.

As determined by your instructor or the BYU administration, if evidence of academic misconduct on assignments or exams is established, one of the two following consequences will apply to each incidence:

First Offense of Plagiarism

Second Offense of Plagiarism

Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


6 portfolio submissions of several written assignments each, may be resubmitted once for a fee.

Resubmit an assignment for a fee.


1 proctored exam (short answer and essay questions), may not retake, must pass the final exam to pass the course.

Retake an exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514