Children's Literature + Teaching

Through our dual degree in Children's Literature (MA) + Teaching (MAT), combine your love of literature with your calling to teach. Become certified in Massachusetts to teach at the elementary school level. Begin introducing today's great works to tomorrow's great readers.

Students in class

Change lives through literature

Study the art and illustration of a children's book, then share it with a child using the innovative “Whole Book Approach.” Examine the roots of fantasy for young readers to understand the appeal of Harry Potter. Consider touchstones of young adult realistic fiction to create your own original curriculum. Discover new nonfiction as you integrate common core standards into your own inventive teaching.

Whether in a public school classroom, an experimental charter school, or on a private school campus, your degree uniquely positions you to bring to together the child and the book in deeply engaging ways. Surround yourself with the extensive children's literature community at Simmons and in Boston. You already know the power of literature to change lives – use it well.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. While many of our current students majored in English as undergraduates, we encourage applications from across the humanities, arts, and media studies; additionally, applications for the social sciences and education are welcome. Applicants must submit official transcripts of all degree work, two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a resume, and either an MTEL, GRE, or MAT score report, or proof or registration for an upcoming MTEL. For international students, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also required. An interview for the Children's Literature program is strongly recommended, though not required. Admission deadlines are rolling for all three semesters.

Program Requirements

Simmons's innovative dual-degree program prepares students for initial teaching licensure in Massachusetts while simultaneously providing a concentration Children's Literature. This 60- to 68-credit program leads to a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and a Master of Arts (MA) in Children's Literature. The 60-credit program includes a full-time, 14-week practicum in an area school. The 68-credit program includes a full year student teaching internship. Students simultaneously work towards both degrees and complete the program with initial teaching certification in elementary education (grades 1-6). Full-time students can complete the program in within three years. Part-time students must complete the program within six years of enrollment. MAT/Children's Literature graduates are well positioned for leadership roles as department heads, lead teachers, or curriculum coordinators.

Required Children's Literature Coursework (28 credits):

  • CHL 401 Criticism of Children's Literature
  • CHL 403 The Picturebook
  • CHL 413 Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Young Adults (g for MFA only; required MA)
  • CHL 414 Fantasy and Science Fiction (g for MFA only; required MA)
  • Four credits of history coursework drawn from general electives
  • Eight credits of general electives

Required Education Coursework (32-40 credits):

  • GEDUC 460: Strategies for the Inclusive Classroom
  • GEDUC 445: Educational Psychology
  • GEDUC 461: Social Studies, Science & the Arts/Elementary
  • GEDUC 464: Reading and Language Arts/Elementary
  • GEDUC 467: Math for the Elementary Classroom
  • TESL 417: Sheltered English Instruction
  • GEDUC 401: Elementary Seminar
  • GEDUC 480: Elementary Practicum

Electives:

  • CHL 404A Poetry for Young Readers: You be the Judge (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 411 Victorian Children's Literature (h)
  • CHL 415 The Whole Book Approach (2 credits)
  • CHL 419A Canadian Children's Literature: Fantasy (2 credits)
  • CHL 419B Humor (2 credits) (g)
  • CHL 420 Thesis (f, sp, su)
  • CHL 421 History of Children's Book Publishing
  • CHL 422 Editing the Children's Book Manuscript (2 credits)
  • CHL 423 19th Century American Children's Literature (4 credits) (h)
  • CHL 424B Nonsense and Subversive Rhymes (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 424C Series Fiction (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 427 Special Topics: Folk & Fairy Tales (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 427B The Americanization of Fairy Tales (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 428A A Single Text: The Graphic Novel and *The Wizard of Oz* (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 429A Re-Reading Race in Classic Children's Literature (2 credits) (h)
  • CHL 429B The Girl Reader 1868-1908 (2 credits) (h)
  • CHL 429C Culture Matters (h)
  • CHL 429D The Girl Reader 1908-1934 (2 credits) (h)
  • CHL 430 Writing for Children I
  • CHL 434 The Child and the Book
  • CHL 435A Creators and Aesthetics: Eric Carle (2 credits)
  • CHL 435B Creators and Aesthetics: Gary Schmidt (2 credits)
  • CHL 436A Nonfiction-Narrative (2 credits) (g)
  • CHL 436B Nonfiction-Expository (2 credits) (g)
  • CHL 437 Special Topics in Children's Literature: Positionality (4 credits)
  • CHL 450 Independent study
  • CHL 451 The Reviewer (2 credits)
  • CHL 50X Summer symposium and institute (4 credits)

Internship Program Only:

  • GEDUC 400: Pre-Practicum Seminar
  • GEDUC 488: Pre-Practicum Elementary

(h) indicates that the course counts toward the required four elective credits of history coursework for the MFA and MA degrees.

(g) indicates that the course counts toward the required four elective credits of genre coursework for the MFA degree.

An elective course can only count toward one category. For example, CHL 427 can count two credits toward the history elective or the genre elective requirement, but not both.

The MAT curriculum combines theory with practice, including multicultural perspectives and teaching skills. Methods courses include related field experiences that allow students to observe and apply teaching strategies and techniques. Elementary teacher courses address instructional strategies and materials for teaching reading and language arts, math, social studies, and science. 

Additional courses explore developmental psychology and contemporary issues in education. We offer a Master of Arts in Teaching, with preparation for Initial licensure as an elementary school teacher in Massachusetts. Students may pursue a 36-credit program with a 14-week full-time practicum, or a 40-credit program with a full-year internship. Some partnering schools and districts provide a stipend for Simmons teaching interns. 

Children's Literature students may opt to take advantage of internships and research opportunities in Boston and beyond, building their skills and resumes and learning from mentors in their fields. Students have interned at publishing houses such as Delacorte, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Charlesbridge, Candlewick, Scholastic, Penguin, David Godine, and St. Martin's; at a variety of literary agencies in Boston and New York; and at advocacy groups, such as Reach Out and Read and the Boston Book Festival. Some students also seek professional internships with local schools and libraries.

Ready to take the next step? We'll guide you through the requirements and deadlines — and get you started on your way.

Apply Now

Education Programs

We offer graduate level programs in elementary education and special education. We provide a highly collaborative environment, individualized programs of study, supportive faculty mentors, and plenty of hands-on experience.

Find your program

Children's Literature

From picture books to young adult literature, classic works to contemporary prize-winners, you will explore the artistry of literature for children and young adults. Dare to discover new audiences and stories all your own.

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Our Faculty

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Helen Guttentag

  • Professor of Practice of Education and Director of Clinical Programs and Undergraduate Education
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Daren Graves

  • Associate Professor of Education and Coordinator of the Boston Teachers Union Program