Friday, May 11, 2007

Harry Potter Magic

According to The Kids and Family Research Report released jointly by Scholastic and Yankelovich, students who read Harry Potter books report improved attitudes about reading.
  • 51% did not read books for fun before they started reading Harry Potter, but now they do
  • kids who read Harry Potter were more likely to consider reading important than those who haven't

Now a report like this is encouraging, but honestly it came from the publisher of the Harry Potter books and a marketing research company. So I did my own research.

My eight year old is a Harry Potter devotee'. She read her first Harry Potter book in August of this year, at the encouragement of her best friend. I had been bribing her to read chapter books during second grades so I was amazed when she willing picked up a book well over 100 pages. She absolutely devoured all six books! You had to pry her away from them to get her to do anything else. She was reading 60 to 100 pages in one day, while still going to school and doing her required work. She is know breathlessly waiting for the 7th book and rereading books one through six. So as a parent, watching her read the books transformed my view of her from a reluctant reader to a voracious reader, but I wasn't sure what she thought about it.

I asked her to comment on how the books have changed her thoughts about reading. I was amazed by her response.
I like fiction now more than non-fiction. I especially like fantasy. I like trying to figure out the clues to the mysteries. I learned how to figure out words that I don't know from hints. J.K. Rowling is a good author. So I have learned a lot about writing from her. It inspired me to start writing my own Vanessa and Selena stories with my friend.

Not only did Harry Potter solidify her thoughts about herself as a reader and what she likes, but it developed her vocabulary deciphering skills and her inference skills. She now not only thinks of herself as a reader, but a writer too!

This is the kind of enthusiasm that we need to harness to help kids be successful in school. We must find what children are passionate about and use that energy to help them become 21st century learners.

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wesleyjeanne said...

That is amazing! Way to go, Miss M. She has always been a bright girl, but impatient with imperfection. I remember once Paul reading to her and she would get frustrated if he asked her to sound out a word she didn't know how to pronounce. Of course, she was pretty young then and already precocious to be reading at the level she was.
I think it's great that you ask her to talk about what reading does for her. It helps develop metacognition--thinking about how we think--another deductive reasoning skill, not to mention providing insight to her into her own learning.

Laura B. Fogle said...


I was talking to her for purely selfish curiosity. I didn't even think about how the questions would help her development. You are so right!