William Kamkwamba was a 14 year old boy who saw a problem and decided to fix it. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind follows William as he learned to make a windmill only by looking at pictures. The book comes in chapter and picture form so it can be taught across grades. Below are some suggestions for teaching the book.
1. Pre Journal Writing
- Create a prompt asking to describe a time they felt stuck or something felt too hard. Ask the students to write 3-5 sentences describing their feelings. Allow those who want to share to other classmates read out loud their experience.
2. Background of Malawi
- William's village was going through a severe famine, as was most of the country. Have students research three facts about Malawi and famine. Allow discussions and sharing of information.
3. Theme Checklist
- While reading the story there are definite themes that children can decide if they disagree or agree with. Write these five statements on a paper and as you read parts of the story ask the students to write D if they disagree and A if they agree with the theme. Remember to explain what a theme is; the meaning behind the plot.
- Going to school is a right, not an option.
- You will be happier if you have money.
- Everyone should have a chance to be successful.
- Everyone should have electricity.
4. Venn Diagram
- In chapter 4 William describes his village, have students do three venn diagrams comparing and contrasting topics William describes.
- his descriptions of home with their own city/town
- his education versus education in their city
- family dynamics