With that broad mission comes a lot of responsibility, and, unfortunately, a lot of critical scrutiny of how we do our work. One of the biggest questions we get from potential supports or would-be critics surrounds what books we try to promote to children and teens, and why.
We generally take the philosophy that just about any reading is better than no reading at all, and rather than focus on an academic curriculum for our students, we try to inspire and motivate them to learn that reading is something that should be a part of your daily life, not because you have to do it, but because it is fun and interesting.
In order to achieve that objective, we often promote books that schools ignore, and encourage kids to read books that are popular and, for many, coming out as a movie (or have already come out).
Probably the biggest example of this over the course of the last decade was the Harry Potter franchise, which grossed more than $20 billion across the 8 films.
With a record like that, we feel you simply can’t ignore the importance of these works, and we also feel they have strong educational value as well.
The novels of Harry Potter take the reader into a magical world where nothing is as it seems. This incredible storytelling encourages students to follow the whims of their imagination to its farthest point, which is a huge inspiration for them to dive into the novel completely, and fully enjoy the work.
Not only that, but Rowling has an interesting style of writing that seems to progress as the students age. That makes the early books in the series appropriate for younger readers, perhaps late elementary or middle school reading level, while the later books are at a high school level, and deal with more mature content.
This range of styles and complexity allows a learning reader to grow with the book series, and the common trends across the series keep the student engaged whether they’ve just started with book 1, or are finishing book 7!
It’s also a great way for readers to expand their current lexicon and useful vocabulary by stretching themselves into the later works. For example, a younger reader might easily tackle the first book of the series, but then struggle in the latter half. In that case, he might check out the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix audiobook or the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince audiobook which would help him to make it through those longer, more difficult works.
You can download Harry Potter audiobooks for free here if interested.
Finally, if the books still prove difficult for young readers, they can always read it in a program that also includes other fun elements, such as watching the films. While no film can truly capture the depth and complexity of the books, they can definitely help readers expand their appreciation and enjoyment of the series!
This is particularly helpful for a reader who is just starting the series. For example, the first look at Hogwart’s shows how the magical world can really come to life!
In short, there’s certainly no harm in having our students read these works, and they can certainly help to expand their creativity and academic knowledge!