A magical experience
It is with heartfelt thanks that I would like to express my gratitude to J.K. Rowling for writing the Harry Potter series of books.
With her writing, she’s given me a wonderful excuse to spend hours snuggled up next to my children, reading and connecting with them in an almost magical way.
When the Harry Potter book series first came out, I was teaching third grade. I read the first few books and enjoyed sharing them with the avid and eager readers in my classroom.
More recently, my two eldest children read the first book on their own during their self-selected reading time at school. Last spring, when I was looking for a good book to spark interest in reestablishing family read-aloud time in our home, I purchased the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and gave it a go. (As of Sept. 5, 2017, there’s an animated Kindle in Motion version of the edition as well.)
Once we started reading, we were hooked.
All that we’ve gained
During the past six months, Rowling’s engaging and imaginative characters and stories have accompanied us on all of our summer travels via audiobook form as well as in print as we’ve read the books together on our old, beaten up couch upstairs.
We’re currently on Book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I truly feel that this time I’m sharing with them has become almost as enchanting as the books themselves.
My four children (ranging in ages from 6 to 12) honestly beg me to read to them at night. If that isn’t enough to leave me spellbound, I don’t know what is!
It’s been a delight to see the stories through their eyes. My youngest ones have been acting out the scenes — making wands out of sticks and flying on imaginary broomsticks. We’ve also enjoyed watching the film adaptions to each book we finish as well.
Rereading the books with my kids, I can see the larger-than-life lessons Rowling weaves into her narratives. I’ve had so many great teachable moments with my children while reading the books, which have expanded their vocabulary, comprehension and understanding.
I admire Rowling’s creativity and voice.
Aren’t the books controversial?
Over the years there have been debates, especially in Christian communities, over the Harry Potter books based on claims that the novels contain occult or Satanic subtexts.
If you’re considering reading the series, go in with the understanding that you’ll be reading about wizards, witches and magic. But also with the understanding that it’s a work of fiction and, in my opinion, the likelihood that a child will turn to the “dark side” after reading a book from the series is highly unlikely.
Besides, books (and all other forms of media) can bring up excellent starting points for conversations about confusing or controversial subjects with children.
Reading together is a wonderful way to spend positive, quality time with your children that supports literacy and the development of your child’s imagination.
Megan Devine is an elementary school teacher who lives with her husband and four children in Northeastern Minnesota. She blogs at kidsandeggs.com.
Why kids should read Harry Potter
Here are a few educationally sound reasons to read Harry Potter books, condensed from imaginesoup.net:
J.K. Rowling’s rich word choice will improve your child’s vocabulary, and her fantastic worlds will encourage imagination.
Brilliant storytelling and complex plots engage kids to encourage a love of reading.
Essential life lessons can be found in the books: Friends stick together no matter what. Be kind and accepting of those who are different. People aren’t all bad or all good, but a mixture of both. Bravery means standing up for what’s right and acting on it, even when it’s hard. Intelligence, loyalty and courage are important. Love is stronger than evil.