Date of Award

Fall 12-2014

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Katherine Cochran

Advisor Department



With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards occurring across the country, schools and students are seeing changes in the organization of education. These standards, grounded in English Language Arts and Mathematics, are designed to push students’ critical thinking skills, writing ability, and methods of communication to prepare them for their life beyond secondary education. For English Language Arts, there is an emphasis on teaching complex texts. In this study, I examined the qualities of complex texts to determine if Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince could be considered a teaching tool for seventh grade students. To do this, I performed many literary analyses following different schools of literary theory. Also, I created a controlling theme and rationale for a thematic unit featuring the Harry Potter novel titled, “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.” In this rationale, I explained the main ideas I wanted students to learn about the different kinds of love found in our society, along with the other texts and assignments featured in the unit. I decided to feature Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince because it is a very entertaining novel that also includes Common Core’s measures for text complexity (qualitative dimensions, quantitative dimensions, and reader and task considerations). This study aimed to provide information about the Common Core State Standards, determine the text complexity of the novel Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and create a thematic unit appropriately challenging for a seventh grade classroom.