The NYT has a brief “let’s talk to some teachers, some students, and some experts” article about the impact of Harry Potter.
The ability to find an educational expert to back up every possible opinion is demoralizing. To wit:
Some reading experts say that urging kids to read fiction in general might be a misplaced goal. â€œIf you look at what most people need to read for their occupation, itâ€™s zero narrative,â€ said Michael L. Kamil, a professor of education at Stanford University. â€œI donâ€™t want to deny that you should be reading stories and literature. But weâ€™ve overemphasized it,â€ he said. Instead, children need to learn to read for information, Mr. Kamil said, something they can practice while reading on the Internet, for example.
This vision will be happily embraced by any and all who are ready to gut whole language and who want to emphasize reading as a skill rather than a love or a vocation. I know I’m a romantic but “reading for information” can’t be the starting point for teachers seeking to inspire their students or for kids learning to read.