Geekmom Asks about Harry Potter

By KellyAnn Bonnell, MA

Today on Geekmom,  posits the question of whether she should encourage her son to read books other than Harry Potter. It’s an interesting read and one of those questions that we encounter as educators. Read her piece here. What are your thoughts on her dilemma?

As the early childhood/informal learning member of the League of Extraordinary Academics, this hit home for me. My first reaction to the piece was how often we forget that just because a child may have an advanced level of reading comprehension doesn’t mean they aren’t just a few steps up the developmental staircase from early childhood and the safety of repetition. We don’t bat an eyelash when a young child asks us to read the same book over and over, yet its often considered strange when that behavior carries into intermediate grade school. There is something soothing about familiarity. 

Cristen’s son may also be demonstrating some geek like characteristics. Rabbit trail learning and obsessions are common in the world of geeks. It’s what defines being a geek. It’s not uncommon to immerse oneself deeply in the worlds of fiction. In fact I’m going to bet that since Cristen writes for Geek Mom and is thus a self proclaimed geek, she’s probably been a role model for this behavior a time or two in her son’s lifetime. My kids know I will not read a series until the final book is out because I do not want to wait months for an author to give me the next installment.

While I’ve never met Cristen or her son, I’ve had many students who have exhibited similiar behaviors and I’d submit that while its not common, its not uncommon either. 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to Geekmom Asks about Harry Potter

  1. Cristen Pantano says:

    I love this quote:

    “…how often we forget that just because a child may have an advanced level of reading comprehension doesn’t mean they aren’t just a few steps up the developmental staircase from early childhood and the safety of repetition. We don’t bat an eyelash when a young child asks us to read the same book over and over, yet its often considered strange when that behavior carries into intermediate grade school. There is something soothing about familiarity….”

    Our son just turned seven. He probably does still benefit, and find comfort, from continuous repetition. He loves Harry and the books and I think that they are his comfort blanket.

  2. aspenlinmer says:

    As someone who LOVES the Harry Potter series and as a teacher I see no problem in allowing him to continue to read the same books. Personally I have found enormous depth in them and have spent many hours analyzing deep world issues through these stories and characters. I think that if he is still interested in reading the books, again and again, then it is probably because he is still learning from them or processing through ideas related to the books. Once he has gleaned all he can from the books he loves he will naturally move on. In fact he may even begin to connect the ideas he has created from this series to other books, people, events, and circumstances of life. Fiction, after all, does help us enormously in coping with and understanding our world.

    Perhaps it would be good to encourage him to write down some of the ideas he see or things he has learned from the Harry Potter books. I know this was a great way for me to connect to the world after some very difficult experiences in my own life.

    It would be so much fun to hear about what he sees in the story, what characters he relates to and why, who he admires, and why he thinks certain decisions were made by those characters. What a great way to learn to relate to others.

    ~Aspen
    http://horcruxesheroesandharrypotter.wordpress.com/

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