Make language learning unique!
You don’t need to brew a potion or master a spell to learn English.
That might be a little disappointing for those who have already been sorted into their Hogwarts houses, but the good news is that you can still add a little magic to your language learning routine (wand waving optional).
Maybe you’ve wondered how practical it is to try learning a language with Harry Potter books. After all, there are a lot of made-up magical terms that might just confuse you. Could you really learn English just by reading?
As a proud Ravenclaw, I’ll tell you the answer is more complex than that. Still, unless you’re trying to learn Mermish or Gobbledegook, there are a few simple tips you can use to make the Harry Potter series a fun way to learn English.
Find a magical method
If you want to start using Harry Potter to learn English, you’ll need to use a learning method that works best for you. Don’t expect to simply read through a book the same way you would read it in your native language.
For instance, if you have an easy time remembering vocabulary with flashcards, write down unfamiliar vocabulary words as you read. Then, add them to your flashcards. You could also use that list of words to create your own sentences or write journal entries.
I also like to create my own bookmark with a list of words that I tend to forget. For the Harry Potter series, you could also use this trick to keep track of those magical, made-up terms that might confuse you.
Use multiple resources
One of the best things about using Harry Potter to learn is that it’s immensely popular. That means there are a lot of resources to help you learn outside of the English version of the books.
For starters, the books themselves have been translated into 80 different languages, which makes it much easier for language learners to find a copy in their native language. Although many of the translations can have a variety of differences when it comes to names, checking the translation can help when you have trouble understanding something.
Then, if you’d like to start training your ear to understand English, you can pick up the audiobook version and either listen separately or read along.
Lastly, although the films have their differences, you can also choose to follow up your reading and listening with a film. Feel free to add subtitles in English or another language to make it easier to follow along. Along with audiobooks, the films are a great way to improve your English listening skills as well.
Perhaps the most important tip about trying to learn English with Harry Potter is to take breaks. Limit yourself to reading a page or two at a time. Chances are you’ll have a good amount of vocabulary to get used to within those pages and you can always add more as you become more proficient.
One of the nice things about the series is that it also matures with the reader. So, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to discover more complex sentences in the later books. By the time you get to the seventh book, take note of how much you can get easily understand during a single reading session. You’ll probably be quite impressed by your progress.
As long as you’re careful not to overwhelm yourself and you try to practise new vocabulary outside of your Harry Potter reading sessions, using the series to learn English can be a lot of fun.
Keep in mind that even native English speakers reread the books again and again to catch things that they’ve missed. So, don’t expect to understand everything perfectly the first time around.
In fact, one of the best things about learning with Harry Potter is that you’ll be able to reread and discuss the books with other fans. So, have a seat, grab a Butterbeer, and enjoy!