• What's So Exciting About Harry?: Responses From the Fourth Grade to Harry Potter

      Hayes-Low, Cynthia; The College at Brockport (2002-04-01)
      This qualitative research study was undertaken to gather thoughts and opinions of fourth grade students in regard to the Harry Potter series of books. Ten fourth grade students of a suburban Western New York school district were interviewed. The prerequisite for the interview was that the student had to have read, or listened to, at least one of the Harry Potter books. The interviews were conducted in a quiet setting with only the interviewer and student present. The interviewer and the student were visible to other adults at all times. The interviews were conducted before the release of the movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, to ensure that the respondents' views were based on the books or tapes, and not the movie. The interviews were tape recorded and were then transcribed for analysis. Data suggested that the students were very excited about and knowledgeable of the books and their author, J. K. Rowling. They commented on favorite characters, descriptions of the setting, vocabulary, Quidditch, favorite classes, spells, potions and why they thought the books were so good. Observations were also made regarding visualization. Results of this study show that the children interviewed seemed to look for the same things adult readers do in choosing to read. They looked for believable characters, good plot development, interesting settings and good writing. This is important to educators who are trying to engage students in literacy and help them become life-long readers. Implications for further research included possibly replicating the study with other groups, for instance, urban or rural fourth grade students or re-interviewing the original study group after the series of books has been completed.