Years later Harry Potter continues to cast spell on readers

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 3:35 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - It’s been 25 years since the first Harry Potter book was published.

The Sorcerer’s Stone launched a fantasy series that captivated the globe.

We reached out to the Bangor School Department to find out if all these years later that magical world is still casting it’s spell and getting kids to read a book at a time when there are a lot of other options.

All these years later still popular as ever.

“Kids were just so enthusiastic and just waiting with bated breath for the next title to come out,” recalled Lori Patterson, a librarian at the Doughty School.

“And I could never keep them on the shelves,” she said.

Sara Woodworth teaches at the high school, but when Harry and company burst onto the scene.. she was in high school.

“It was just one of those captivating books that I couldn’t put down,” said Woodworth. “My friends were reading it, I was reading it. We couldn’t stop talking about it. I was in the time and the age where not all of the books were out yet, so we had to wait the agonizing time between release dates.”

“What’s most important is that students are still reading it today,” added Patterson.

Students like Lorelei Mackenzie who previously was what educators might call - a reluctant reader.

“I read it, and then I just couldn’t put the book down, and I got in trouble a lot for reading class,” she said.

She picked up the first book a year ago.

“Well, I finished the first one in a week, and then I finished the series,” said Mackenzie. “I’d have to say, like November, October of this year.”

“We have students who, you know, have to choose their phone or a book,” said Patterson. “It’s hard these days with TikTok particularly that is a big competitor in our reading world. And so, what I hope is that while students are at least here or in any of our schools, that they start to develop a sense that they are readers and that they belong in a library and that these stories are worth trying.”

Sara says, much like in the battle with he who must not be named, Harry saved the day for her students that had been pandemic learning for so long.

“I had students who were coming from remote in hybrid instruction either from three months, six months, 12 months, up to 18 months outside of the classroom,” she explained. “We didn’t have the stamina for learning when we started, and Harry Potter brought us back together. It created that stamina. We found our rhythm, and by weeks six to eight, they were back into full academic work, and it’s just something that brought us together.”

“I see kids find comfort in Harry Potter,” said Patterson. “They hold it close to their chest. They know what the story is going to bring them. They get to see Ron, Hermione, and Harry essentially grow up in front of their eyes, and they see them do everything together. They need to rely on each other.”

“Makes me feel like I have other friends inside the series because it kind of makes you feel like you’re in there,” said Mackenzie. “I don’t know, it makes me feel happy.”

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