Common Sense Review
Updated November 2012

Harry Potter Reading Club

The fun and fantasy of Harry's world plus literary discussion
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • Site design has that slightly spooky Harry Potter flair.
  • Links to buy books aren't too distracting, and the excerpts are generous.
  • Teachers can use discussion guides in the classroom or after school.
  • Cute games and activities are refreshed each month.
  • A glossary of terms is fun to browse.
Pros
With rotating monthly content and tons of extra resources, it's a wonderland for Potter fans of any age.
Cons
Navigating the site can be overwhelming; an adult's help will make it easier for kids.
Bottom Line
With activities, discussion questions, and lots of free access to the books, this site is a great place for Harry Potter fans new and old.
Polly Conway
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

There's something for every level of interest here. The site mimics the colors and spooky atmosphere of Harry's wizarding world, and kids will really enjoy being in an "official" club.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Using the discussion questions as a guide, kids will learn it can be fun to talk and think about books after reading them. The site's games and quizzes often require critical thinking and memory skills.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

The site can be overwhelming at first; help from a parent or teacher will put kids at ease. It also includes links to Pottermore, another Harry Potter site, and options to purchase the books.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

You can use the excellent discussion guides to start classroom chats, or you can assign questions to groups and ask students to present their answers. If there's a hardcore group of Harry Potter lovers at your school, you might consider creating an after-school club or activity group around the books. You can also check out what the Harry Potter Alliance, a social justice organization based on Harry's good works, has to offer. Harry Potter books can be a great introduction for kids who think they don't like reading; you can get them hooked with the free excerpts and offer extra credit to discussion leaders.

Students will get more out of their Harry Potter reading by sharing the experience with others. Kids can post responses to engaging discussion questions, pose their own questions, and explore the games, quizzes, and reading materials. Through the engaging discussion questions, they'll learn about literary analysis and delve into the themes and ideas of this well-loved book series. The site's games and quizzes come directly from the trials of Harry Potter and his friends, and often require critical thinking and memory skills.

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What's It Like?

Harry Potter Reading Club is an online resource devoted to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter book series. Here, kids will find games, videos, book excerpts, discussion guides, and more, all revolving around the magical world inhabited by Harry Potter and his companions. A parent or teacher will need to set up the book club and approve each member's request (via email). Once you register, you'll be able to download the Welcome Kit, which includes a handful of fun printouts -- like name tags and stickers.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Whether your students are long-time Potter fans or are just being introduced to the series, there's something here for every level of interest. Scholastic has done an excellent job of designing the site to mimic the colors and spooky atmosphere of Harry's wizarding world, and these little touches and details create a cohesive experience.

If you want to confirm that you're correctly pronouncing "Eeylops," you can do it here. If you've forgotten the motto of famed quidditch team the Chudley Cannons ("Let’s all just keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best"), you can get a refresher on this site. It also includes links to Pottermore, another extensive Harry Potter site, and, of course, options to purchase the books through Scholastic (although the publisher does offer generous samples of each book -- nearly 100 pages' worth for each).

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