Tuesday, February 8, 2011

For the Love of a Book

I am obsessed with Harry Potter. I adore Hermione and Ron. I believe that J.K. Rowling is brilliant. I love her books, I love her characters, and I love the journey that I’m on when I read books from the series.

I also get a thrill from sharing books that I love with my students. Mystery, history, humor, or realistic fiction – if I’ve read it and loved it, you can bet I’ve pitched it to my class and lovingly placed it in a growing reader’s hands.

So, quite naturally, I am overjoyed when a student shares a similar love of all things Hogwarts-related. When I make a Potter reference in class, those who have joined me on this literary journey laugh along with me (or murmur in disgust if I mention characters like witchy Professor Umbridge or filthy Filch). I love the feeling that we are all in on a big, delightful secret. It’s a great thing to share.

Not all of my students are Rowling fans, however, and that’s okay. We share similar loves of Sharon Creech, Rick Riordan, Avi, Deborah Wiles, Beverly Cleary, Katherine Paterson, and Scott O’Dell. I must admit, though, that a shared adoration of Harry Potter is special to me.

Recently, one of my students who all year has avoided Potter like the plague has succumbed to temptation and began reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He picked it up and within a couple of days, had reached the 400-page mark. “I couldn’t put it down!” he exclaimed as I commented on how quickly he was reading. I beamed with excitement, I’m sure.

Today, during silent reading time, this particular student was continuing with Sorcerer’s Stone as I walked around to conduct my daily reading interviews. It was quiet in the room as everyone was absorbed in his or her book. As I made my way around the room, I suddenly heard a hearty chuckle from our class’s newest Potter enthusiast. He looked up at me and grinned, and said, “I swear, I can totally see Harry doing that in my mind!” He laughed some more and went back to reading.

I have no idea what part of the novel prompted the laughter and the connection, but I was thrilled to see him so engaged in what he was reading. Yup, today was a proud teacher day for me. Proud to welcome a new Potter fan into the fold, but even more proud that another student is in love with a book.

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