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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest by Commonwealth Education Trust

1,220 ratings

About the Course

This course is for curious students and aspiring authors with a passion for writing for young readers. Participate in a dynamic online community of writers as you experiment with your own writing and develop your voice. This course will guide you with a combination of video lectures, online readings, peer reviews, and guest appearances from world-renowned children’s authors. As you work through the writing exercises, you will give and receive feedback from your peers and gain tools and techniques for improving your writing. During this course you will identify stories that matter to you, explore cultural significance and boundaries, and shape your identity as a writer; become familiar with standard elements of narrative (character, setting, plot, theme, language, dialogue, point of view); reflect on your own work and practice essential self-editing skills; see the different ways in which words and art interact, and the possibilities of longer narrative forms; come away with practical insights into publishing options; and create a plan for pursuing your enthusiasm for writing. By the end of the course, you will have ten to twelve extracts of writing that you can develop into a portfolio. Join a dynamic community of many voices from around the world. Find inspiration in your own voice, heart, and place so that you can tell the stories for young readers you’ve always wanted to tell....

Top reviews


Feb 6, 2016

I am a beginner wantabee author and publisher, first steps are elementary, as I need. Self paced, life can get in the way. Instructors are wonderful, as are the guest speakers and interviewees Thanks.


Jul 16, 2017

This course introduces writing in an easy to understand way. The interviews with published authors are very insightful as well. The exercises are a great avenue to practice what the Mooc instruct

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1 - 25 of 500 Reviews for Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest

By Virginia B

Mar 7, 2017

While the information is certainly good, and I enjoyed listening to David Hill, it is too basic for me. I was looking for something that wasn't an introductory course, but I took it thinking the peer reviews would be worth it. I had a difficult time downloading peer writing to review, and I never got any feedback on my assignment. I also went to the forums for discussion, but there wasn't anyone adding new information. It seems like a ghost class without any real live students. Since it is not interactive in any way, I am just spinning my wheels. Not worth the effort.

By Charlotte T

Apr 20, 2018

This seems like a basic course but they give you a lot of useful information and it is very well done. The author interviews are informative and interesting too. I highly recommend the course.

By K M

Sep 5, 2015

These were very short lectures without a lot of content. For example the different kinds of publishing were described but no time was spent on how to evaluate publishers or how to decide what might work best for the author. The interviews with the published authors was by far the best part of this class and I enjoyed listening to them describe their writing lives.


Feb 8, 2021

It was an excellent course! Wonderful presenters and I loved the interviews with authors. I can definitely recommend it to others. I enjoyed every module and all the activities.

Thank you

By Araminta M

Oct 30, 2015

I wanted this course to focus specifically on strategies for engaging young readers, but it did not. Additionally, the method of assignment sharing is a file upload/download dropbox. I had fully intended to participate until I saw that. As a MOOC, I realize that there could be any number of individuals registering for this course using false information and uploading nefarious scripts that could hijack my computer should I download something from here. No thanks, Coursera. Epic fail.

By Anamika S

Oct 10, 2017

I started this course thinking, "Ah! lets see." I was doubtful of so many things initially. But gradually things picked up my interest and encouraged me to complete all the assignments and pass them successfully. I am so happy that this course has opened my eyes into the writing world in so so many positive ways. The whole journey has been very very enlightening and enriching. I must say that the instructors, mentors and other peers were very helpful. They provided proper guidance and constructive criticism in a way that it has helped me to improve my writing substantially. Thank you so much Coursera team, for providing such a wonderful platform where anybody whose interested can find the right courses and educate themselves being in their own comfort zones.

I will definitely not stop here as my learning here has just begun and shall pursue all other suitable courses in time as possible. :)

By Charissa

Sep 9, 2015

The course didn't feel as though it was aimed at a university level audience, which is what I expect from Coursera courses. I I did appreciate the prompt that the assignments gave me to actually sit down and write, but so far the feedback wasn't very helpful. I think that there should be much more guidance on how to give good feedback to peers. Reading a good number of submissions from members of the course, I didn't feel that this course gave them the practical skills needed for good prose, but w

By Kingsley C W

Aug 25, 2015

I loved the non-UK / American basis for the writing and the study texts: fascinating reads and great eye openers to other styles and languages. Such a rich source! The videos and interviews were great and I loved the transcriptions - they made life so much easier to make notes and annotate from.

The main issue I have is with the 'peer' marked work throughout the course. I feel this was meant to be a collaborative tool for us to use, but instead turned out to be a rather awkward device. Some students gave leeway to the 500 words limit; others not. I was failed because my explanatory note - not the piece itself, just a note for context - took me 34 words over. How pedantic was that reader? Another piece I read was over 2000 words long and had obviously been taken from some other assignment: it barely fit the study brief. Additionally, are non English speaking students penalised by having to write in English? Grammar and syntax in the west is very different depending on the country you come from - German syntax vs Italian vs English. All are different. How can I be fairly marked if the reader of my work has English as a second / third language? By that same token, can I really pass a student who has met the course criteria, yet has mis-spelled many words, has little or no punctuation and has jumbled tenses all over the place. This needs to be sorted out I feel, as it has marred this course for me. I don't feel it gave an even playing field to all. Thank you for the opportunity though, I did enjoy it!

By Roxanne

Jan 21, 2016

Provides good basic information. The assignments are simple and can easily be "passed" by following directions, not necessarily by writing well. Many reviews say the critiquing is the draw-point of this class, but that is all done by fellow students not by publishing experts or professionals. So while this course "opens the treasure chest," it leaves you a long way from publishable

By Tyler H

Sep 13, 2015

This course should be given a basic or starter level tag. Some of the videos are great, but they cover very basic: things like genre and narration. I thought the presenters/teachers were great, and I liked their author interviews. I wish there had been more writing assignments. I am very glad I took the course.

By Benjamin H

Aug 21, 2015

It is perfect for beginners, but if you're an experienced writer you might be looking for something a little more challenging.

By srinivasan s

Aug 25, 2015

oka, needs more fun

By Michelle K

Mar 8, 2021

I really enjoyed this course. Videos were interesting, especially guest authors. The assignments were challenging enough yet short and got me writing; which, as much as I want to, has been a battle for me to stick to. Also, the amount of peer reviews were doable; I actually did more as it was interesting and educational to read peer stories. I finally actually completed a course, and I am encouraged to do another. Thanks to all my co-aspiring writers, thank you for your peer reviews. The only difficulty was technical, with some peers not understanding the meaning of "up to" 500 words. But instructors were very responsive in correcting that. And other students have been kind and supportive of each other as well. Thank you to the Commonwealth Education Trust for this course.

By Reena D

Feb 20, 2018

This was my first online course attempt. I took it because I actually wanted to finally give myself a chance to take flight in the one thing I've always been afraid to do. I loved the instructors style of teaching. The taught me a lot of things mainly respect for my peers work, focusing on my tasks and learning to be kind to myself. They were with me every step of the way and offered great learning tips and guidance. I feel I have come a long way from the time I started this course and look forward to finally publishing my work with more confidence in myself. I highly recommend this course for those who have always had a passion for writing. Thank you.

By Sarah R

Jun 7, 2020

I have thoroughly enjoyed the course. It helped me get a grasp on the basics of writing for young readers and just writing in general. The course highlight many things a beginner writer needs to know and the interviews from various writers gave so many insights into the writer's life with a useful guide and tips. Peer reviews were very helpful, as it tells me where I need to improve and can do better and encouraging as well. There is a discussion forum too, which I haven't participated much, but scrolling through past discussion it looks insightful too. I would highly recommend for those aspiring beginner writer.

By Monica W

Jan 13, 2020

I absolutely loved this course - the instructors and selected speakers made me feel very open with writing, with looking into myself, at my life experiences and the people in my life for stories that I could tell. I got to look over some great stories as part of the peer review, learnt some very useful techniques and the advice received was truly wonderful - I cannot emphasise enough how much I appreciate the instructors' and all other writers' kindness, patience, empathy and willingness to help people who wish to write. I sincerely thank you for the effort, you have inspired me!

By leerrasti l

Apr 28, 2016

Its a great Course.

It has a lot of good recommendations, interviews and tools for new writers.

It also has a very good format and the authors that participate communicate good and share very interesting experiences and points of view of what it is for them to write.

I think the interaction and forums dont work very good. Ive taken other workshops (not online) but a primarial resource for improving and getting to find out things is the feedback from others.

Thank you very much, and when I start publishing Ill get my certificate from this course.

By Lizeth M

Jan 8, 2016

Excellent! It has interviews from different writers - different cultures, too - and also has basic concepts to start writing. I loved it, it really felt like opening a treasure chest, literally!

By Shereena W

Dec 6, 2018

An absolutely fantastic course! Good for beginners, but also good for those with experience as well. The instructors are great and all the guest speakers are delightful and interesting.

By Aleks S

Oct 29, 2015

Information presented was too basic.

By Luis L

Nov 8, 2015

I loved this course. Although I was familiar with a most of the topics already. I think from way back at school, and also from some reading on my own, but it has been a while, so it was good to go through it again. The assignments were really good. Week 5, about publishing, was what was most new to me. Would be nice if there's a follow-up course on 'Publishing'.

One more thing, not sure why it's called 'Writing for young readers',.... I feel, there's not a lot specifically on writing for young readers.I'd say it's more like a (general) "introduction to writing stories". Still, this is a great course for anyone interested in starting to write.

By Kateryna K

Aug 27, 2015

I learned a lot of interesting things. Both Maria and David were great teachers: they spoke clearly, making examples and trying to speak as slowly as possible (which is good for a not native english speaker as myself). The interviews were another interesting addition to the course, as the peer reviews: they were not created or structured to lead to failure but to selfimprovement an improvement trough other's advices. It was great. I hope they'll make another course like this in the future, it would totally have my enrollment.

Thank you, to the both of you, for the things you taught me!

By Sujatha R

Feb 27, 2021

This is one of the best and the most practice oriented courses I did on Coursera. Thanks Mr. David Hill, Ms. Maria Gill and the Commonwealth Education Trust team for going that extra mile in creating such an outstanding course and making it available for free. All the guest speakers were absolutely fantastic and relevant with their inputs being very valuable. The videos being offered in cheweable bites was a very good idea. I highly recommend this course to everyone and look forward to future courses in the Creative Writing space by the team. Thanks once again.

By Mugdha S

Jul 30, 2020

This course came to me like a miracle. I had never done any online learning before so was a bit nervous but the way it's designed made learning such a pleasure. I particularly loved Mr. David Hill's modules and the guest speaker interviews. THANK YOU! A Big thanks also to Ms. Maria Gill for sharing those vital editing tips and the most important bit of how to approach a publisher. Thank you Coursera, Mr. David Hill, Ms. Maria Gill and to each and every one of the guest authors who shared their journeys, for taking me several steps closer to my dreams!

By M V

Oct 9, 2022

In this class, I really opened a treasure chest and I found the most fabulous things in it. The instructors were knowledgeable in the field. The interviews with international authors was a wonderful surprise. I learned so much from them. 

In addition, I have learned what it takes to become a writer and how to be a better writer. I have definitely improved my writing skills and can confidently submit my query letters to agents and publishers.

Instructors, I appreciated your enthusiasm, and I thank you for a wonderful five weeks.