Oh my gosh, this is the best thing I’ve ever done to engage students in reading. Even my non-enthused ELL students, and my new ELL student who hardly understands any English have been engaged. We read through Harry Potter 1 and 2: Officially known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Doom. We read several chapters, then watched that portion of the movie. In between we worked on vocabulary using the Latin roots of spells and names to jump start us. I got the idea from an amazing web site by Susan Jones.
Although reading has always been the highlight of my day, using Harry Potter brought it to new levels. I focused on teaching the strategies of inferring and visualizing during these two books. Every once in a while after a read aloud I asked them to draw what we had just read. Thanks to the background knowledge provided by the movie, all students improved in their ability to visualize. Sometimes I let them know that they were going to draw after I read, and sometimes I told them afterwards. Soon, the results became quite similar as they improved their active listening skills and their engagement. We connected implying to inferring and so the questions I asked varied from, “What is J.K. Rowling implying here?” to “What do you infer from what I just read?” Students were able to make a transference to their writing. Joy!
I was tempted to throw my historical fiction curriculum to the wind and continue reading the series, but my students revolted. With the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, my students wanted to read the books as quickly or slowly as they wanted and in the order they wanted. I count that a success.