The Witch Next Door by Norman Bridwell - Teaching Ideas

If all witches were like this witch, I would want a witch to live next door to me too! She is kind, and neat, she goes to bed early, and invites the neighbor kids over for tea and cookies, who wouldn't want a witch like this as a neighbor. Not only is this a great Halloween themed book but it has a great lesson about the way someone looks. Just because someone looks the way they do, doesn't mean they will behave the way you think they will.

I know this book is an oldie, but it I hope you pull it out and share it with your students. Here are few reading skills and strategies you can use to create a fabulous lesson to go with this book.

Reading level: 1.8
Theme: Halloween
Genre: holiday fiction

  Reading skills and strategies:
  • asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder if a witch really does live next door? {possible questions during} Why does the witch live next door? Why were the neighbors so mean when the witch is so nice? {possible questions after} I wonder why the witch said good boys and girls are better than princes and princesses? **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • author's point of view - 1st person - students should find 3 examples proving the first person.
  • author's purpose - entertain{evidence} Witches aren't real. Witches don't live in neighborhoods and the picture of the witch walking her pets was very silly. All these things make a very entertaining story.
  • characterization - describe the witch {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • compare & contrast - your neighbor and the witch
  • connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Having a very nice neighbor.
  • main idea & details - {main idea} The witch next door was a good neighbor. {details} She kept her house very neat. She would send soup and cookies if someone was sick. She helped get kites out of trees.
  • plot - the turning point or climax in the story when some neighbors came to the door and told the witch she had to leave because they didn't a witch living next to them.
  • predict - What do you think the story is going to be about? Do you think the witch is good or evil? Do you think the spells she does hurts anyone? Who do you think is at the door? Why do you think the people from next door were not happy? How do you think the witch feels after the neighbors came? What do you think the witch is going to do to the neighbors? Why do you think the witch turned the neighbors into a prince and princess?
  • problem & solution - {problem} The witch has neighbors that don't want her to live there. {solution} The witch turned them into a prince and princess.
  • story elements - list title, author, character's, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  Here is a Story Map Freebie you can share with your students.

Happy Reading!


  1. Oh My Goodness!!! This book was a favorite of mine when I was little {was it even a cartoon or movie at one point?} I totally forgot about it until now!!! Thanks for the reminder, and the freebie!!

    Across the Hall in 2nd Grade

  2. I just came across your blog and totally love it. I know that clipart can always be used in the classroom. I came across this site which offers unlimited access to the clipart. Plus new items are added almost daily. Take a peek at it Look for Teachers and Church Teachers.Missy Mae


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!