If you visit Stambaugh Middle School on Monday afternoons, you might believe you somehow stepped into Hogwarts – the fictional boarding school of magic from the popular Harry Potter books and movies.However, the only magic that’s being made at Stambaugh is helping students develop a love for reading.This year, teachers at Stambaugh started the Harry Potter Book Club with the intentions of targeting the school’s least interested readers. “The key is to get them engaged,” said the school’s principal, Robert Hartley.Harry Potter apparently did the trick because the club has grown to more than 140 members since it started almost two months ago.Students meet after school every Monday.“You get a kid to stay an hour after school, one day a week to read – that’s cool,” Hartley said.In anticipation of the upcoming releases of the two-part “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” movies, staff members chose the Harry Potter theme for this year’s club, said Nicole Sealey, a reading teacher and one of the club’s co-sponsors.“The books grow with the students. They start out shorter, and they start out easier. As the kids progress through the series, the books become more challenging,” Sealey said.While the goal is for students to learn to appreciate reading, students who read all seven of J.K. Rowling’s Potter books and do well on quizzes, showing their reading comprehension, will get to visit Islands of Adventure’s new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction in Orlando at the end of the school year.When the club meets each week, students are separated into four groups or houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin – just like in Harry Potter.Together they participate in activities such as dramatic readings, making house crest badges and competing for house points. Student can receive points for their houses in a variety of ways throughout their school days, including good behavior, citizenship and participation.Focusing on reading skills, students participate in activities such as writing book and movie reviews, which help them learn how to compare and contrast.
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