Lesson Plan: Writing for Children
Lucy Maud Montgomery is a writer whose work is synonymous with her home of Prince Edward Island. As a writer for children, she had many influences and she offered her own. A number of clips on Beyond Green Gables: The Life of Lucy Maud Montgomery on the CBC Digital Archives website refer to the author's place in the canon of children's literature. The clip "The Long Road to Fame" reveals that children's books such as Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland inspired Montgomery to write a novel for young readers. Mark Twain called Anne Shirley "the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice."
The following task can be shaped to encompass any children's literature the class has been studying or books that particularly interest students, such as J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
Students will write a research essay about children's literature focusing on one work by Lucy Maud Montgomery and a second novel by a classic children's author, such as J. K. Rowling, J. M. Barrie, Lewis Carroll, Louisa May Alcott, Astrid Lindgren, or Mark Twain.
Students will begin their research by browsing the topic Beyond Green Gables: The Life of Lucy Maud Montgomery on the CBC Digital Archives website, then expand their research to include other relevant resources including, but not limited to, the Internet, books, and journals. Students should make clear notes as they research and must cite all primary and secondary sources consulted and quoted. Have them write an outline and a draft, edit their work, and complete a final copy of the essay.
As a class, discuss the elements of children's literature the students explored in their essays. Pose the following questions: What do the plots and characters in children's novels have in common? What values do these works teach? What makes the characters so fascinating to their audiences? Does a piece of children's literature have to appeal to both adults and children to be considered a classic?
- children's literature