In addition to blogging, one of my favourite hobbies is reading. I read a variety of books but, on the whole, I generally read children’s novels or teen novels. I don’t know why. They just appeal to me more than ‘grown-up’ books. This puts me in a great position as a year four teacher because my reading choices are similar to my students’ choices. By chance, I recently found out how powerful this can be.
We recently took a field trip which was a half hour ferry journey away. To pass the time on the journeys there and back, I brought Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I didn’t plan on making a teaching point out of it. It was simply the book that I was reading at that time. However, children noticed! This sparked many questions and prompted excellent discussions about the franchise. Over the next few days, back in school, Harry Potter books were popping up all over the place (in English and Chinese). It was suddenly a class obsession! Many of my students were discovering the franchise from the beginning with the very first book of the series. It was particularly brilliant to see the less-able readers so enthusiastic and willing to discuss their reading. Harry Potter has become a shared interest and a great discussion topic. It has been brilliant for strengthening relationships both with my students and between my students.
When I noticed that Bookazine (a bookshop chain) had free Harry Potter bookmarks to advertise the latest releases, I tried my luck. The lovely people there gave me a class set! Big thanks to them for supporting my students’ excitement! With the new theatre production and the launch of the Fantastic Beasts franchise (there will be five movies in total), it’s a great time to introduce/reintroduce your students to these novels. Click on the images to be directed to Amazon. Why not buy the whole set for your class?
I have recently become aware of a concerning issue in my class. Several students are rushing through their books. They have a mindset that good readers read quickly, and reading has therefore become like a race to prove how good they are. This impacts on the students’ understanding, but also on their enjoyment of reading. I want to set the example by reading for understanding and pleasure… slowly.
In my guest post for The Learning Scientists, I proved through several psychological studies that teachers are hugely influential. In response to that article, many educators have told me about times when their students have imitated their behaviour, actions and even mannerisms. I believe that this Harry Potter experience is just another example of how influential we are. Let’s capitalise on it! From now on, all of my reading will be shared with the students. I also encourage them to share with each other. I am now reading The Midnight Gang by David Walliams (possibly my favourite author – I’ve read everything he’s ever written). I hope that my students enjoy his books as much as I do.
How much do your students love these books? Which other authors/franchises are popular with your students? Have you noticed any reading habits that concern you? Let me know in the comments below.