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The concept of "story" in oral tradition and written literature is the focus of this course. Through storytelling, discussion, and workshop activities, students use their own responses, criteria from the field of literary criticism, and principles of child and adolescent development to analyze and evaluate the literary and curricular merits of childhood and middle childhood fictional materials. Some organizing concepts are the importance of the oral tradition to literary development; the nature of literary structure; the recognition of style in literature; the presence of archetypal themes across cultures; and the uniqueness and purpose of literary language, including its relevance to second language learners. Issues of diversity are discussed through the use of a wide range of fictional material used to construct critical reading skills.