I keep forgetting that people on the web don’t really KNOW me. Oh sure, you know a bit about my family, my thoughts on various subjects and, of course, my running obsession. But unless we are pals IRL, you may not know me for the true GEEK that I am.

I’ll save you some trouble and just go ahead and out myself right now: I’m crazy about Potter.

I love everything about the Harry Potter series. I’ve read all of the books and now … seen all of the movies.

((sigh))

I’m not even going to wax philosophical about how light triumphs over darkness or my love for JK Rowling’s vivid imagery and compelling storytelling. Nope. Not even going to go there. (If I did we’d be here all day…)

Instead I want to focus on the educational benefits. As in how this one series helped shape a generation of readers… a fact that never ceases to amaze me.

In a study conducted by the research firm Yankelovich and Scholastic Educational Publishers, children and their parents credited the Harry Potter books with inspiring more youngsters to read for enjoyment. Over half of the children (between 5 and 17) claimed that they didn’t read books for fun before discovering Harry Potter, and 65% even reported they have been doing better in school since they started reading the Potter books. 89% of parents in that same study reporting their children showed an improved attitude toward reading, and 76% believed their children fared better in school since starting to read the Potter books.

I know that I have personally seen my own reading-challenged son work diligently to read and comprehend the series. I’ve shared with you before the intensive interventions that we’ve undergone since he was in 1st grade. The fact that he is putting forth such an effort to read a book of this level truly underscores it’s importance.

It makes my heart melt.

Well done, Harry. Well done.