Thursday, July 14, 2005

Potter-mania :)

Ah, the excitement is in the air. Brand spankin' new Harry Potter, on sale tomorrow! Whoo-hoo! I promised myself I'd re-read Books 1-5 before 6 came out, just so I'd be caught up. Then when I realized that I'm a teacher and therefore have no free time, I decided that I'd just read 5. Then when my class work piled up, I threw that plan out the window. So now I'll be reading Book 6 armed with nothing but a fading memory of what happened in the last book. Fortunately, I work with kids all day, most of whom would be all too happy to sit down and explain the highlights of the plot to me. Call it teacher perks. :)

Today's Inquirer featured two articles about kids and reading. One specifically geared toward the Harry Potter series, the other focusing mainly on summer reading (for fun, not school). It's heartening to know that there actually are kids out there who read for fun. I was one of those kids. I always had a book with me, sometimes even reading two books at a time. I brought books to the dinner table (which my mother frowned upon), begged to stay up late to read "one more chapter!", and frequently re-visited favorite books.

But as a teacher (and other teachers can back me up here, I'm sure), it's becoming difficult to find kids who love reading that much. We've been talking about this a lot in my Psych of Reading class, and our professor has named several reasons for that:
~ there are teachers who don't love reading, and therefore don't model a love of reading (I can't imagine such a thing)
~ there are parents who don't read, and therefore don't model a love of reading
~ textbook driven lessons, with no discussion or real reaction to the stories
~ kids are used to the fast pace of TV and video games and don't have the attention span necessary for reading or listening to books

A sad story all around. And obviously this doesn't apply to all kids. I know for a fact that there will be kids lined up at bookstores tomorrow at midnight, eagerly awaiting their copy of Harry Potter's new adventure. That, to me, is just awesome.

But there are schools and teachers who don't allow their students to read Harry Potter in school (because of themes like magic and witchcraft). It's even rumored that the Pope is opposed to the series.

Can you imagine that? Kids are getting excited about books and reading, and there are people out there who are trying to stifle it. There's something seriously wrong with this picture.


Abigail said...

"I know for a fact that there will be kids lined up at bookstores tomorrow at midnight, eagerly awaiting their copy of Harry Potter's new adventure."

Not just kids. I'll be there too! With two of my friends.

By the way, I had the same plan to reread #5 and I never did. I figure it will all come back to me when I start reading #6.

SuzanH said...

I can't understand people who don't love reading. Just blows my mind.

My daughter and I did the last HP midnight madness and we'll be lined up for this one, too. Got my wristband already.

Sara said...

I disagree with schools that don't allow HP in the classroom. I can sort of understand why it should not be read aloud to the whole class, but if a student choses it as an independent book, no one should interfer.

When we interfer with student choices, we are limiting their understand and use of their critical thinking skills. They do not go through their own process of 'do i like this book? is this book right for me?' Instead, we tell them what is right. We tell them if they should like that book.

We should encourage all reading, all genres, and all themes. Sometimes, people are against HP and they have never even read it. Ignorance at its core.

Tachizuno said...

I have 3-4 copies of each book in my classroom...

I made the mistake of just ordering the new book today from Amazon, then went to Walmart and there were about 200 copies staring at me... guess I wait until Wednesday to start it...

ah well

Teacher27 said...

How true. It is really sad that a teacher would discourage a child from reading anything that interested them, in my opinion, be it a comic book, picture book, or a cereal box, for that matter. When I was in middle school, a teacher forbid me to read a book about Al Capone-- which I'd found in the school library! I still don't understand it, although I guess she thought she was protecting me or something.

I've never gotten into the Harry Potter series, although more and more people keep telling me to read them. I sort of feel like I'd have to start with the first book now, in order to understand what's going on. Do you think that's true?

Tachizuno said...

Yeah, I would start with the first book. They keep getting better and better too, so you'll want to read them more and more.