First, there is Ms. Rowling's phenomenal ability at writing backstory. This is the part of the narrative that provides background supporting a better understanding of story. She flawlessly weaves this information throughout her writing. It is akin to what effective teachers do when they help learners to activate schema during a lesson - providing a firm foundation on which to construct new ideas. The ability to make connections is fundamental to teaching and learning.
|Could this hat do more than sort?|
Another thing I like about the Harry Potter series is that there doesn't seem to be any wasted effort. The story always moved forward. And while there were times that we were introduced to characters, settings, or events that seemed superfluous, they almost always ended up playing an important part in the resolution of the story. This reminds me of what I have read so far in Mike Schmoker's book, Focus. In order to be effective, teaching needs to maintain momentum toward a clear set of manageable goals.
|This car plays a part in several books|
(If you want more evidence of Ms. Rowling as an effective teacher, then consider her 2008 graduation speech at Harvard and her characterization of effective teachers in her writing.)