INFO 264-10
Materials for Tweens Ages 9-14
Fall 2016 Syllabus

Penny Peck

Syllabus Links
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 24th, 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one unit or two unit class that starts on a different day. In that case the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Survey of materials in various formats including fiction, nonfiction, movies, music, computer games, online resources, and other materials, and how they can meet the developmental needs of this age group. Collection development tools and techniques for this material will also be included.

Course Requirements

Course Format
This is a web-based course. All of our interaction will take place on the iSchool Canvas site. Course materials will be available primarily through the Canvas site, books from your public library, and journal articles available on the SJSU library database.  Assignments for the course should be posted electronically. Our class discussions (worth 20 percent of your grade) will be conducted using a Discussion Forum - your responses to a different discussion question posted each week. You will be graded on both the content of your posts (not just "I agree"), and meeting the minimum of posting at least once a week.

Class Discussion
Our class discussions (worth 20 percent of your grade) will be your responses to a different discussion question posted each week. Always post to the Discussion Question by the dates listed under each discussion forum. You will be graded on both the content of your posts (not just "I agree"), and meeting the minimum of posting at least once a week. Last day to post to the Discussion Board is Monday, December 12, 2016. Related competencies: A, M.  Related 1, 5

All assignments should be a Word file posted to our Canvas site in the assignment dropbox.  All assignments must use APA format for sources, and all assignments MUST have sources to demonstrate that research was done.

Assignment 1: Due Monday, September 19, 2016 by 11:59pm.

Assignment 2: Due Monday, October 17, 2016 by 11:59pm.

Assignment 3: Due Monday, November 7, 2016 by 11:59pm.

Assignment 4: Due Monday, November 28, 2016 by 11:59pm.

Assignment 5: Due Monday, December 12, 2016 by 11:59pm.

Assignment 1: Genre Fiction
Read five novels aimed at 4th-7th graders, from the mystery, historical fiction, sports, adventure, animal story, fantasy, humor, science fiction, or contemporary/realistic fiction genres (read from different genres and different authors). These should be books considered “literature;” not a paperback series knock-off but an award-winner or Honor book, or by someone considered a good writer in the field. If you are not sure, email me the titles so I can okay them. Read the books and write an evaluative review at least 250 words in length for each book. Write your evaluative review, with a brief plot description but spend more time on your opinion of the book, and how it could be used in a classroom or library program. For example, how could it be used in a book discussion group – possible questions, activity ideas? Or used in class; does it relate to the curriculum? Do research and list all the sources you used. The books should be from different genres and different authors, and mention the genre at the top of the review.   Related competencies: F. Related Course Learning Objectives: 1, 4.

Assignment 2: Websites and Databases
Write reviews, approx. 250 words in length, of the following: two paid library databases that are aimed at the Tween audience (not adult Databases that can be used by youth), two free websites that are aimed at the Tween audience to use for homework or research, and two free entertainment websites and/or Apps aimed at the Tween audience that they use for games, listening to music, social networking, or other entertainment. Talk about the site’s content and visual look, if it can be used successfully by Tweens and what homework/research topic you used as an example to test the site, and comments from Tweens about some of the sites (often found on blogs or other site review sources). Remember, these six sites are all things designed specifically for and used by Tweens, not adult databases or websites that young people use but are not aimed specifically at them (like Youtube which young people visit but it is not aimed at them). Do research and list all the sources you used. Related competencies: I. Related Course Learning Objectives: 2, 4.

Assignment 3: Media – DVD and Recordings
Choose three DVDs and three audio recordings that are made for Tweens – these can be feature films, documentaries, instructional DVDs, music CDs or album downloads (not just one song), books on CD, Playaways, and so forth, but the primary audience for the media items must be Tweens. For example, a good choice would be “Inside Out” or “Harry Potter,” but not a movie aimed at adults like “Batman v. Superman” that Tweens might like, and definitely no “R” rated movies. Choose a wide variety of items – not all animated films, not all recorded books but a mix of audiobooks and music recordings, etc. Write reviews of these six recordings, talking about the plot, whether they are well-made, how they could be used in a library program, and Tweens’ reactions to the media items (check customer reviews on Amazon, tween blogs,, etc.). Each review should be approx. 250 words (you can make it longer, but I wouldn’t make it shorter), and review a wide range of materials (not three DVDs in the same series, or items by the same performer). Media for the Tween market is a billion dollar industry so we need to know not just what is popular but why, and if it is well-made. Be sure to do research and list all your sources! Related competencies: I, M. Related Course Learning Objectives: 2, 4.

Assignment 4: Informational/Nonfiction Books
Choose a nonfiction/Dewey Decimal numbered subject area to do a “collection development” project. This area should be somewhat limited; i.e. “Insects and Spiders,” not animals, and not Beetles which is too limited. A good example is “Baseball,” not sports. Other topics could include poetry from a specific culture (African-American, Latino, Asian-American, etc.), history from a certain time period (the Great Depression, the Civil War), biographies of a specific focus (contemporary American women), etc. Select ten items (eight books, one media item, and one free website) to suggest for purchase on that subject, for children grades 4 through 8. All of the items should be in print (not out of print; check Books in Print, Titlewave, or publishers’ sites), and at least one of the ten items should be a DVD, CD or other non-book media you would purchase, and one other should be a free website (not a paid database). Compile these into a list, with each item having a one paragraph annotation that includes both what the book is about and why you chose it, as well as the book design, photos, illustrations, and backmatter. Write up a 3 or 4 page essay on the selection tools, review journals, and other sources you used to select the items; which were most helpful? What tool(s) did you use to determine if an item is still in print? How did you decide what to choose? What did the local library have or lack in this area? Which items did you actually read or see? How did you choose the media item? How did you choose the website? Be sure to do research and list of all the sources you used. Related competencies: M. Related Course Learning Objectives: 5, 6.

Assignment 5: Reader's Advisory Notebook/Database
Create an entry for 40 items appropriate for tweens ages 9-14 (4th through 8th graders). Each entry should include the bibliographic information, a very brief plot description, a genre label, a reading level, and mention of any books or materials that are similar in style, content, theme or characters. Also include any of the following items that you think might help you with reader's advisory activities in the future: Personal thoughts, Subjects/themes, Awards, Series Information, Character names/descriptions, One/two sentence high interest annotation (that might be used on reader's advisory bibliography), read-alikes, and programming/lesson ideas.

Complete project should include entries for all different book genres and reading levels discussed in class. Complete project should include several recent (2010+) award winning titles. Entries should be written up using Microsoft Word, or you can do this in a blog format but check with the instructor first. You may not use any of the books used in your other written assignments. These are 40 other books or items besides those. However, you may use books discussed on the Discussion Board. You must include at least (but not limited to) 10 novels. The other 30 can be a mix of nonfiction, folklore, poetry, biography, graphic novels, DVDs, magazines, and audio recordings for our age group (but not websites). Related competencies: A, F. Related Course Learning Objectives: 3, 5, 6.

Class discussions are worth 20 percent of your grade; Assignment 5 is worth 30 percent, Assignment 1 and 3 are worth 10 percent, Assignments 2 and 4 are worth 15 percent.

Late Work
Penalty for late or missed work – Missed work is an "F;" late work is ONLY allowed by agreement of the instructor BEFORE the due date; late work must be turned in no more than two days late and that is ONLY if the instructor has agreed ahead of the due date and you will be penalized one letter grade for being late.

Other assigned reading
Be sure to see the weekly Modules on our Canvas site for the list of assigned readings for the class, including the journal articles assigned for the class.  You will also see a sequence of lectures, the weekly topic for the discussion question, and more extensive descriptions of the assignments.  You will also want to  visit your local public libraries to find the children's books you wil use for the assignments, as well as reading book reviews in School Library Journal, Horn Book, and Booklist.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 200INFO 260Aor INFO 261A

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the external (societal) and internal (developmental) forces that influence young teens' choices of recreational and informational sources and materials.
  2. Evaluate selection tools, and use appropriate resources to develop a collection of materials for younger teens, including all appropriate formats.
  3. Critically examine representative materials designed for younger teens and tweens, and apply criteria to evaluate them in relation to child development, multicultural concerns, and meeting the informational and recreational needs of this age group.
  4. Create an appropriate materials collection for younger teens, including print and nonprint materials and a variety of the digital resources currently available for this age group.
  5. Exhibit knowledge of published resources about literature for young teens and tweens, such as reference materials, selection tools, and Web sites.
  6. Assist parents and caregivers with questions about appropriate materials for their tween children.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 264 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Demonstrate awareness of the ethics, values, and foundational principles of one of the information professions, and discuss the importance of intellectual freedom within that profession.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  3. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
  4. M Demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for professional work including collaboration and presentations.


Required Textbooks:

  • Horning, K. T. (2010). From Cover to Cover (revised ed.): Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books. New York: HarperCollins. Available through Amazon: 0060777575. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Peck, P. (2010). Readers' Advisory for Children and 'Tweens Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1598843877. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA or Informatics) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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