Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Last updated Friday, August 7, 2009

Author: J.K. Rowling
Date of Publication: 2003
ISBN: 0439554896
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2009

Synopsis: Fans of the phenomenally popular Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Scholastic, 1998) won't be disappointed when they rejoin Harry, now on break after finishing his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Reluctantly spending the summer with the Dursleys, his mean relatives who fear and detest magic, Harry is soon whisked away by his friends Ron, Fred, and George Weasley, who appear at his window in a flying Ford Anglia to take him away to enjoy the rest of the holidays with their very wizardly family. Things don't go as well, though, when the school term begins. Someone, or something, is (literally) petrifying Hogwarts' residents one by one and leaving threatening messages referring to a Chamber of Secrets and an heir of Slytherin. Somehow, Harry is often around when the attacks happen and he is soon suspected of being the perpetrator. The climax has Harry looking very much like Indiana Jones, battling a giant serpent in the depths of the awesome and terrible Chamber of Secrets. Along with most of the teachers and students introduced in the previous book, Draco Malfoy has returned for his second year and is more despicable than ever. The novel is marked throughout by the same sly and sophisticated humor found in the first book, along with inventive, new, matter-of-fact uses of magic that will once again have readers longing to emulate Harry and his wizard friends. Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA - School Library Journal

Note to readers:
•  Vocabulary: snarled, abnormality, marmalade, sumptuous, impatiently, jaunty

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Before Questions:
•  Has anyone seen a Harry Potter Movie? Do they know another one is coming out this summer?
•  What special gifts does Harry have?
•  Is this a fiction or a non-fiction story?
•  Note to readers: Check to see if the kids in your group are familiar with the Harry Potter story (or at least the first book). If they know the story well, you may want to skip the first chapter to get to more action in the story!

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  During:
•  At the end of each chapter, stop and ask the kids to recap what has happened before moving on to the next chapter.
•  Keep a character list as you go through the book. Write it down on paper for the kids to see what the names are and how the characters are connected so everyone can remember as the story moves forward (you can also use the dry erase board—as long as you clean it thoroughly before you leave!). Pick an identifiable trait for each character (ie: Harry Potter wears round glasses) to make them easier to identify.

Craft ideas:
•  Crafts:
•  Make flip books. Take a piece of paper and fold it in to 8 equal sections. Cut along the folded edges so you have 8 separate rectangles. Stack them together and staple one side to make a book. Pick a scene or character to draw in action. On each page, draw the same scene or character slowly moving through the motion. Then flip the pages quickly to see the action come to life! You can do another scene/action on the back side of the pages too. Materials to bring ahead: blank index cards to make the flip book (instead of cutting up paper).
•  Make a storyboard from the book. Explain to the kids that the way books are made into movies begins with the process of the storyboard—the words on paper need to be visualized into what you would see on a movie screen. Split up a piece of paper into four or six sections. Pick key scenes from the story to draw in each of the sections and write captions for each scene to tell the story. This craft may be done during the reading to help engage the kids in the story. Your group could also make a storyboard as a team where each child (or pair) draws a scene on a full sheet of paper. Then put each piece of paper up on the board in order and have the kids tell the story by

*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!