Spells Under the Slide

Third grade was pretty exhausting. From the highly difficult curriculum to the only two recesses, it was pretty hard to catch a break. But when I did, I found myself consumed by the most fascinating book the universe had ever created: Harry Potter. While other kids were playing tag, I was under the slide with Harry and Ron in potions class. As kids cracked jokes while we waited for our parents to pick us up, I was helping Harry track down Voldemort. Every minute I could spare, I spent with my nose deep in those thick words of wonder, eagerly awaiting what adventure Harry and the gang would take me on next.
I remember the feeling I got every time I finished a book. It was the deepest thrill of fulfillment and excitement as I could move on to the next one. I had a strict system too: read the book and then watch the movie for that book. This way, my brain was never limited by the story visualization of someone else as I read. This is a habit I have carried throughout my life, and I can firmly validate the old-as-time statement “books are always better than their movies.”
The best part of this magical series is that as I aged, so did the characters and the story. I finished the series just before going into middle school, and even though I wasn’t an old teen like Harry, I had watched him and all of the characters grow and develop into who they would leave me as. That is what made the series so personal to me, as well as giving me the feeling of truly knowing and loving the characters. As a kid that didn’t have many close friends growing up, this meant everything, and also caused my tears of sadness as I closed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and said goodbye to my friends.
Reading those books at such a young age is probably one of the best things I have ever done in my life. At this age, most of our reading skills are still developing, and we are rarely provided with books that we can connect with on an intimate level. Do I remember any other book series I read at that age? Not nearly in the great detail that I can still recall Harry Potter. It opened my gateway into the infinite possibilities that lay inside a book cover and instilled in me a deep love for reading that provides a feeling of excitement and intimacy like no other.
What I would come to realize in the years after finishing this series is that not only did they benefit my abilities of emotional connection and creativity, but also my reading skills, as I would discover that the books increased in textual complexity as they went on. This realization initially stunned me but made so much sense as to why I am the way I am now. It blew me well past the average grade reading level, and for that, I have J.K Rowling to thank.
These books provided me with everything one needs to see life in a clearer lens: a wild imagination, the ability to think creatively and personally, and a greater appreciation for literature and the amazing power of words. And to think that third-grade boy almost quit reading them because he got picked on for always being detached from reality. To him, I say, “Read on, little buddy. Read on.”

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