Monday, May 07, 2007

Here is more evidence that inspiring kids to read has many benefits. Some are trying to ascertain the longterm benefit of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Here's what one recent study found from some of J.K. Rowling's fans.

A 2006 study by Scholastic and Yankelovich found that the Harry Potter books have had a positive impact not only on kids' attitudes toward reading, but also on the quality of their schoolwork. The Kids and Family Reading Report surveyed 500 children ages 5 to 17 and their parents or guardians. More than half of Harry Potter readers said they hadn't read books for fun before the series, and 65 percent said they have done better in school since reading the books. The study also found that the reading habits of boys – who consistently have lower literacy test scores than girls – changed the most as a result of reading the books.

Did you get that? They hadn't read books for fun before the series! Given the overwhelming evidence to the benefits of reading quantity, this is a tremendous breakthrough for so man kids. One young man shows what an avid reader he has become.

Marcus credits the series for getting him interested in reading. He says his grandfather read him the first five books, but he wanted to read the sixth one himself. Since then, he loves to read medieval, fantasy, and science-fiction books, he says. He also now likes the many books he reads for school – even though the majority aren't his favorite genres, he says.

"I whip through 50 books a year," says Marcus matter-of-factly.

Whether it's Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, or some other reading craze, everyone is a winner when kids get excited about books.


Junie B. said...

Read-alouds present a wonderful opportunity to introduce students to a variety of genres and have them reach for new heights. I have seen the eagerness of many new readers to master sight words and become proficient readers so that they can read a Junie B. Jones, Arthur or Magic Tree House chapter book independently after hearing them read aloud in class. I have also seen the power of a genre study with our youngest readers. The excitement they show when self-selecting a non-fiction book from the library and their eagerness to discover new facts is wonderful. One of my little friends told me the other day in her reading group..."This is fun!". I hope she will be reading Harry Potter in a few years!

danw said...

Junie B,

It's teachers like you that prove every day that learning truly is a joy. Your genuine enthusiasm for learning transfers to your students who come to believe that learning is actually a pleasure. I think you're both onto something.