I Believe in Hogwarts

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When I was ten, reading was the last thing I would do for fun. I always finished assigned readings for class, but I never enjoyed them. I had to motivate myself to read. I would choose a book, read for fifteen minutes, and then reward myself with a snack or television show. Reading was the thing I couldn’t wait to finish so I could do something else.

In sixth grade, that all changed. My closest friends were avid readers, and they talked endlessly at lunch about Harry Potter. I didn’t like feeling left out of these conversations and my friends kept insisting that the series was worth my time. So I finally decided to read them myself. The books were the longest I had ever read, but I flew through them. I became just as engrossed in the world of Harry Potter as my friends were. And I could finally join the conversations at lunch.

Looking back, I realize something amazing was happening. While other sixth graders discussed video games and football and who was dating whom, my friends and I were analyzing literature (even if we didn’t realize it). While Harry, Ron, and Hermione learned Charms and Potions, I learned a different kind of magic: the magic of reading.

One frequent topic of our discussions involved the magical school Harry and his friends attended: Hogwarts. I was fascinated with the concept of Hogwarts, a school where students were excited about learning, where learning really was magic. While many young Potter fans hope to receive acceptance letters to Hogwarts on their eleventh birthdays, we didn’t need letters to know Hogwarts was real. As we read the series, we were attending Hogwarts. Hogwarts taught us that education was more than just sitting in class and memorizing facts. It was something to be excited about and something that applies to life.

As sixth graders we didn’t realize how much the Harry Potter series was teaching us, but looking back I see how powerful my Hogwarts education was. It transformed me. Now, instead of getting reading out of the way and rewarding myself with other activities, I get other activities out of the way and reward myself with reading. Instead of taking breaks from reading, reading has become my break.

When I finished the last page of the Harry Potter series, I cried. It felt like the end of something. But I realize now it was also a beginning. As a future teacher, I am driven to make real world education as exciting as a Hogwarts education. I believe that I can make mathematics and English as exciting as Defense Against the Dark Arts. My time spent at Hogwarts transformed the way I learn, and I want my future students to find that same excitement, that same magic, in whatever they learn.

I believe reading can lead to a magical education. I believe in Hogwarts.

-April Taylor


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