Friday, July 20, 2007
The long-awaited day has finally arrived! In just a matter of hours, people around the world will be purchasing their copy of the last book in the Harry Potter series. I have been thinking about it all day. Of course, it was hard not to when people were talking about it everywhere I went and when it was all over the news and in newspapers! The interesting thing is that I am not even a fan, not in the traditional sense anyway. I read the first book and saw the first movie, but that is as far as my Harry Potter following goes. So why am I so excited about the release of the last book in the Harry Potter series? The answer is simple: I am a teacher. Because of this, I am a fan of any book that gets kids interested in reading, and the Harry Potter books certainly seem to have that ability. As a third grade teacher, few of my students begin the school year with the ability to read a Harry Potter book from cover to cover. As a special ed inclusion teacher, many of my students still aren't able to read and comprehend an entire Potter book at the end of the school year. Still, in my three years of teaching, I have watched many students check out these books from our school library. Some students struggle through an entire book and walk away with a moderate understanding of the plot. Others struggle with reading the books to the point where they finally give up on reading them on their own, opting instead to take the books home and read them with their parents. However it is that they get through the books, students who have read these books always seem to end up with a new appreciation for books as a whole. They suddenly can't wait to check out the next book in the Potter series, or any other book; they just want to read! They finally have an understanding of what we, as teachers, are always trying to tell them, which is, "books can take you anywhere, even to worlds that don't really exist." I am aware that the Harry Potter books have not been without controversy. Still, I think we should all be able to appreciate a series of books that can magically instill of love of reading in children. I look at it this way: today, children all over the world have been anxiously awaiting the release of a book! They have been begging their parents to take them to wait in lines at bookstores! On top of that, these same children will spend their weekends preoccupied with reading, instead of with playing the Nintendo Wii or computer games. In my opinion, that is pretty impressive and downright fantastic!!