Harry Potter: The Boy Who Made Kids Love Reading

With all of the controversy surrounding Harry Potter, including cries to ban the book from schools, the novels have done something that American parents and teachers, as a group, have failed to do. They have made our children read.
A recent study by Scholastic notes some intriguing statistics among the kids of Harry Potter's world. Parents and kids both credit Potter with getting kids to read for fun; just over half of the kids surveyed said they neglected to do so before latching on to the series. Almost two thirds - 65% - have noted improvements at school since they started Rowling's works.
More important than grades, however, is the entire shift in attitude towards reading. Previous surveys have found that children's reading drops after the age of 8. The average Harry Potter reader, however, start the series at 9 and continue to read - and reread - the books as they get older.
Reread the books. This single statement spoke volumes to me. Most people I know read a book once and then never again. Most people, who will watch the same movie over and over, refuse to read a book they have already enjoyed because 'they know how it ends'. They watch the same television shows with the same expected, overused endings. Yet we have kids now reading and rereading books. The idea boggles the mind.
Speaking of mindboggling, you do realize that most adults read less than five books after they graduate school, be it high school or college. Reading is apparently too difficult for most people. But Rowlings has lured her audience to read not one but six books, and eagerly anticipate the seventh. Not only that, but according to the aforementioned survey, half of Harry Potter readers will seek out a new series to devour. One in three - that is 33% - intend to reread the series. Oddly, only 27% intend to look for a new Rowlings book; perhaps the rest are afraid of being sucked into another ten year series.


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