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Waterstone's Booksellers Ltd: Harry Potter Improves Children's Reading

LONDON, July 10 /PRNewswire/ --

ATTN: Regional News Desks

- Survey Today Reveals the Positive Impact That Harry Potter has had on Literacy in the UK

The launch of the Harry Potter Report and Survey from Waterstone's today reveals that children and teachers alike believe that Harry Potter has had a significant impact on children's literacy levels in the UK.

Harry Potter Helps Children With Their Reading

Children say that Harry Potter has helped them improve their reading skills and that Harry Potter books have made them want to read more books - almost six out of ten children surveyed (59%) said that Harry Potter books had helped them improve their reading skills, and nearly half (48%) said that Harry Potter books made them want to read more books.

"With just one week to go before the launch of 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince', millions of children across the world are waiting in anticipation for the next Harry Potter. This survey demonstrates the true value of Harry Potter - the children's own enthusiasm for reading books when they find books that inspire them so much that they want to read more," says George Grey, Head of Children's Books at Waterstone's.

Teachers Recognise The Impact of Harry Potter on Literacy

Teachers also recognise the impact that Harry Potter has had on children's literacy - 84% of teachers say that Harry Potter has had a positive impact on children's reading abilities and 73% of teachers say that they have been surprised by some of the children that have managed to read Harry Potter.

"I was teaching 10 and 11 year olds when the first wave of Potter mania hit. We had just had Yo-Yo mania and I had never imagined that the next craze would be a book!

It was extraordinary - suddenly all my class pupils were reading! Not only were the children interested but actually excited and inspired by books," comments Lindsay Carmichael, an English teacher in Gateshead.

"With playstations, football, trampolines and television, I do need all the help I can get to encourage the children to read. I am ready for a shot of Harry Potter frenzy once more and there is no doubt at all that Harry Potter will help in the classroom."

Teachers say that Harry Potter Turns Non-Readers Into Readers

Teachers believe that Harry Potter has reached children that are not motivated to read books - 67% say that Harry Potter has helped turn non-readers into readers.

For some children reading a Harry Potter book really stretches their ability - 41% said Harry Potter books were hard to read and 51% said Harry Potter books were the longest books they had ever read. 69% of children said that Harry Potter books were their favourite books of all time and 61% said that the books were so good that the length did not matter.

"When children find something that they love they are prepared to try something more complex than they have read before. The Harry Potter books have a wonderful ability to challenge the reader in a way that encourages children to rise to that challenge," comments George Grey.

Teachers See Harry Potter As Good Role Model For Children

Of the teachers surveyed an overwhelming 83% felt that Harry Potter was a good role model for the children. Indeed, two thirds of teachers (60%) see the Harry Potter series as a helpful resource for teaching in the classroom.

In fact over three quarters (77%) of the teachers surveyed also admitted to having read and enjoyed the Harry Potter series themselves.

Harry Potter Is A Helpful Resource In The Classroom

Some teachers use Harry Potter in the classroom - 60% of teachers say that Harry Potter is a helpful resource for teaching in the classroom.

Nearly four out of ten teachers (37%) of teachers felt that the Harry Potter books have had a bigger impact on literacy than the Government's National Literacy Strategy.

Notes To Editors

Survey methodology - the survey was carried out through the Federation of Children's Book Groups among its members during June 2005. There were 1,000 respondents between the ages of 8-16 years old and 100 teachers across the UK. The survey accompanies the launch of 'The Harry Potter Report' that assesses the impact that Harry Potter has had on the UK.

Federation of Children's Book Groups is a national, voluntary organisation that exists to promote enjoyment and reading, and to encourage the availability of a range of literature for all ages, from pre-school to teenage. The Federation works closely with schools, playgroups, publishers, libraries and other organisations.

OTHER INTERESTING SURVEY RESULTS

Harry Potter is the best book children have ever read

69% of children surveyed said that one or all of the Harry Potter books were their favourite books of all time, the children ranked their favourite Harry Potter books:

    
    1 Goblet of Fire
    2 Order of the Phoenix
    3 Prisoner of Azkaban
    4 Chamber of Secrets
    5 Philosophers Stone

Ron Weasley is nearly as popular as Harry Potter

When asked which character they would most like to be the most popular was Hermione, nearly as many children identified with Ron Weasley as they did with Harry Potter ...

    
    1 Hermione Granger (41%)
    2 Harry Potter (19%)
    3 Ron Weasley (13%)

Children want Hagrid as a teacher in their school

With 82% of children wanting their school to be more like Hogwart's School of Wizardry, the children were asked which teacher they would most like at their school:

    
    1 Hagrid (35%)
    2 Professor Dumbledore (33%)
    3 Professor Snape (10%)

Harry Potter has made reading cool again

    
    - 41% said that the Harry Potter books have made reading cool again.
    - 66% said that most of their friends have read the Harry Potter books.
    - 65% say that it is important to know what happens in the next Harry
      Potter.
    - 70% of teachers say that Harry Potter books are talked about in the
      playground

Hotly anticipated new Harry Potter book - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

    
    - 68% of children said that they are excited about the launch of 'Harry
      Potter and the Half Blood Prince'.
    - 39% of children said that they would miss their favourite TV programme
      to read the new Harry Potter
    - 48% of children said that they would stay up late to read the new book.
    - 40% said that they would get hold of a copy of the new book in the
      first weekend.

SOURCE Waterstone's Booksellers Ltd



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