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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

I am teaching a young author's class this summer and I wanted to try to engage my students by sharing with them short stories that also had visual counterparts. Strangely, my 3-5 grade students are obsessed with dark stories, which comes out in their writing. So when I was thinking of book examples to share with them, I immediately thought of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. In the last Harry Potter movie, they have that interesting animated vignette of "The Tale of the Three Brothers." Hermoine reads it and a shadow puppet style animated short is shown. It plays out the story.


So what I did was read the short story to them first. Then we watched the video and talked about how the images connected to the story. They loved it! Why do I need my students to connect images with a story? They are writing their own stories that they will also have to illustrate. So matching a story up to images is part of writing a storybook. I also showed them actual storybook examples.

Another reason I wanted to read stories to them was so that they could draw from their exposure. I asked the students to share what they were reading right now (or at home) and we looked them up on GoodReads.com. Then we talked about how they were using their inspiration from their current story to enhance their own story. This was something I got from a video interview I watched on Rick Riordan (The Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series). He had a little video where he gives advice to young authors and his three rules of writing are:


1. Read ALOT! As a writer it is your fuel. You have to "ingest those voices" which help create your own voice.

2. You have to practice! It's like a sport. You have to actually write a little bit everyday to help you improve. Build those writing muscles!


3. Don't give up! Keep going and have the determination and self-confidence to keep going.


In order to help my students achieve this, we've been doing little writing activities and I've been reading books to them and short stories. It has been an amazing experience. And that is why I used The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Each day we read a different short story. They wanted to hear them all, so we worked through the stories together. I didn't read all the additional commentary, because the students hadn't actually read the Harry Potter books (no... they saw the movies instead). So we used the short stories as inspiration and fuel.

Wow, look at all the nerdism coming through in this post just over one little story connection. The kids loved it and their stories are really exploding with creativity! The little stories in The Tales of Beedle the Bard were enjoyable, because they were still part of the Potter World, but without being part of the central story. The Hermoine commentary, which I did read on my own, was interesting and just builds on the universe Rowling created. Cool beans!



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