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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone



Last updated Friday, October 6, 2006

Author: J.K. Rowling
Date of Publication: 1997
ISBN: 0590353403
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2006

Synopsis: From Amazon.com: Say you've spent the first 10 years of your life sleeping under the stairs of a family who loathes you. Then, in an absurd, magical twist of fate you find yourself surrounded by wizards, a caged snowy owl, a phoenix-feather wand, and jellybeans that come in every flavor, including strawberry, curry, grass, and sardine. Not only that, but you discover that you are a wizard yourself! This is exactly what happens to young Harry Potter in J.K. Rowling's enchanting, funny debut novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. In the nonmagic human world--the world of "Muggles"--Harry is a nobody, treated like dirt by the aunt and uncle who begrudgingly inherited him when his parents were killed by the evil Voldemort. But in the world of wizards, small, skinny Harry is famous as a survivor of the wizard who tried to kill him. He is left only with a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead, curiously refined sensibilities, and a host of mysterious powers to remind him that he's quite, yes, altogether different from his aunt, uncle, and spoiled, piglike cousin Dudley. Soon enough, however, Harry finds himself at Hogwarts with his owl Hedwig... and that's where the real adventure--humorous, haunting, and suspenseful--begins.

Note to readers:
•  A lot of the kids may be familiar with this story, either through the book or the movie version. Begin with chapter 1 and try to read through to page 70. If the kids know the story, you can skip chapter 2 and go to chapter 3 where the magic begins.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Has anyone heard of Harry Potter? Have you read any of the HP books or seen any of the movies? Which ones?
•  What genre are the Harry Potter books? [fantasy] How do you know? What are some characteristics of fantasy books?
•  What makes Harry famous in the books? What makes him different from others?
•  Do you have magic powers? What would you do if you did have magic powers like Harry?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What is Harry?s life like living with his aunt and uncle and cousin?
•  Why do you think Harry?s aunt and uncle are so mean to him?
•  Should you treat someone badly because they are different? Is it okay to be different from others? Just because you?re different to some people, does that mean you?re different to everyone?
•  Can everyone find friends? Where does Harry find friends?
•  Where are Diagon Alley and Hogwarts? Do they exist even if others can?t see them?

Craft ideas:
•  Create your own secret code and write a message to your friend. (Instructions for one code are provided.)
•  Make a wizard?s hat. Roll a large piece of construction paper into a cone and tape or staple the sides. Decorate your hat with markers or anything else you have.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!