Lesson Title-Letters from Hogwarts: Utilizing Prior Knowledge
Students will be able to recognize and use prior knowledge found in a text or in their own
experience to analyze or interpret setting and character in a text.
Common Core Curriculum Standard:
RL.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says
explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RL.9 Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a
historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction
use or alter history.
Concepts to be taught: Recognizing, connecting, and responding to texts through prior
knowledge, interpreting information
Materials needed: Text of Harry Potter, Reader’s Notebook, Cognitive Strategies “letter” from
Strategies used: Think Aloud, tapping into prior knowledge, constructing the gist, and
monitoring, small group work
Announcements: None
Continuation from previous lesson: In previous lessons, students were introduced to the world of
Harry Potter and have begun reading the text. They began constructing for themselves how the
world of Harry Potter differs from their own and they practiced “constructing the gist” as a
cognitive strategy for reading. Chapters 1-2 have been read so far in the text.
A) Preparing for the Lesson (5 mins):
• Students bring out their texts. Students are asked to write for a few minutes to
construct the gist or summarize what has happened so far and what they know
about setting, character, plot and theme. Teacher does this as well.
• Students share what they know with their groups.
B) Directing the Learning (20 mins):
• Chapter three is read aloud in a Think Aloud model focusing on monitoring and
tapping into prior knowledge. Teacher uses text on an overhead projector for
students to see their markings and notes. As letters begin arriving, the teacher
notes what things connect to knowledge they already have about the text. Teacher
also uses monitoring and constructing the gist which are strategies students have
already used and learned.
o Prior Knowledge: For example, the teacher notes the use of owls in this
chapter as letters are delivered and points back to the strange occurrence
of owls in the previous chapter. What does this tell me about the world?
How is his world different than ours? Teacher uses sentence starters like
“This reminds me of…” or “This is different than where I live…” Teacher
cites using prior knowledge to fuel thinking,
• As they continue to read as a class, the teacher begins asking students to make
o What do you see happening in this passage? Do we know anything more
that is similar or different from how we live?
• The class reading session is then turned to small groups for passages as students
utilize this new strategy. Students are encouraged to write what they see and find
in their reader’s notebook.
C) Reinforcing the Learning (10 mins):
• Students receive their very own letter from Hogwarts inviting them to explore
Harry’s world. This letter reinforces strategies discussed in last few days and will
serve as an accessible book mark for them to refer to.
• Students then finish chapters 3-4 independently or as homework and write in their
reading journal. Teacher monitors.