“Harry Potter”Reading Challenge at Vega-La Camocha Public Library (Spain)

The “Harry Potter” Reading Challenge is a cooperative and participative game based on a system of points, badges and classifications. Its main objective is to stimulate interest in reading in its broadest sense through an amusing experience that’ll awake the voluntary desire to read, removing this activity from any imposition or duty.

It’s an activity created through Entrebiblios, a cooperation project between the school and the public library, open to the education community. In this initiative, resources, ideas, concerns and innitiatives around the library and reading are discussed.

To design this activity, we’ve chosen an atmosphere based on the magic world of the novels saga from the British author Joanne Rowling devoted to the character of Harry Potter.

The “Harry Potter” Reading Challenge  is based on 3 pillars: Reading, Creation and content production and Gaming. We are confident on the power of gaming to increase motivation, and a lot of the projects we’ve designed in the library are based on the Gaming strategy.

Last 15th December 2018 the registration was closed with a balance of 300 participants, users from the 3 libraries involved: Vega-La Camocha Public Library and the Schools Libraries of the Primary School Jacinto Benavente and the Secondary School La Laboral, whose pupils live in the area of influence of the library.

The game has started, and it’ll be intense and demanding. Fortunately, we can count on the support of 2 associations: Abierto Hasta el Amanecer (Open ‘til dawn), with which we’ve been working for years and Caput Draconis, whose members are followers of the Harry Potter saga. Without these 2 associations we couldn’t have put the activity in operation.

Game Development

The game started with the sending of owl-letters to the families interested in participating, to inform the parents that their sons and daughters had been pre-selected by the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to get training to become Reading Witches and Wizards. They were invited to the Selection Ceremony, in which the Sorting Hat distributed them amongst the 4 Houses of Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw y Hufflepuff, as it happens at the start of the new school year  in this magic school.

The participants confront the challenge of reading to obtain points. These points will be reflected in their School Book and will accumulate to the ones obtained by their partners in each House. The goal of the game is to win the House Cup. In parallel, the points will allow them to move up from just muggles to delegates, through intermediate steps of wizards and prefects. Their score will also accumulate to that of the other members of their family. Furthermore, the points accumulated for each subject (the subjects are types of documents) will allow the winner to obtain the category of Expert or Specialist in this subject. So the challenge develops both in an individual and a collective way.

But points are not only obtained by reading: the Teachers Assembly will convene throughout the year the O.W.L. (Ordinary Wizarding Level)  exams and the NEWTs (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests) exams, with which they’ll challenge the participants to make creative tasks and reading recommendations. And they’ll encourage them to participate in afterschool activities like the Quiddich championship outdoors and the Triwizard Tournament, a hunt with which extra points can be obtained.

The scores will be consigned in 4 sand clocks, one for each House, set out in the Vega-La Camocha Public Library up until the game is finished, at the end of May 2019. They’ll be fulfilled with coloured balls, one colour for each House, that correspond to the collectively achieved points.

Text: María José Fernández González, librarían, and Verónica Delgado Schardong, socio-cultural extension from Vega-La Camocha Public Library (Spain).

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