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Is age seven too young for Harry Potter (book 1)?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I know the answer is yes, but I am hoping it's not. Maybe I can edit the ending? I love the Harry Potter books and somehow, my son is interested in them all of a sudden. He'll be 7yo in a few months, so I know we can wait until at least then, but I should probably wait until 9 or 10, right?

Thank you!!!

post #2 of 21
I think it honestly depends on the child. Have you read the book? I personally wouldn't edit anything-- if I read it and felt my child couldn't handle it, I would hold off. My oldest read it by himself when he was 6, my second, we read it together when she was 8, and my just-7 and I read it together this summer.
post #3 of 21
We read it to my two stepdaughters now 13 and 15 when they were about that age and they loved it. I think if you think he's ready and you've read them, then he probably is. You can always stop at any time if he does get scared...
post #4 of 21
Why do you say Yes, it would be too young? Content: something would be too scary? Or are you thinking it would be too difficult to follow? Or something else?

Nothing in Book One would have bothered my kids at that age.

I read it to dd when she was in 1st grade and while she had the patience to listen, she didn't understand parts of it.

I tried reading it to ds at the same age but it was apparent he wasn't getting a lot out of it. He couldn't focus enough. So we stopped and tried again a year later.
post #5 of 21
My daughter is 6.5 and I will definitely be waiting another year or two.
post #6 of 21
My 7 yo just read it herself and loved it.
I think it depends on the kid.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
I don't think he'd be scared really (I've read them all many, many times and love them personally)... I think I was thinking that "pedagogically" it might be more appropriate to wait until at least nine or so. More of a development thing. Sort of like studying the Norse myths in 4th grade (not comparing HP to the Norse myths, just going along with the pedagogical choice of bringing those myths at that age...). Right around the nine-year-change when so much is happening internally for them.
post #8 of 21
Honestly, I don't think there's any sort of Steiner indication for when to read the Harry Potter books, although I would be interested to hear from someone with formal Waldorf training. The early books especially have a lot of the same plot devices as many of the Grimm's fairy tales.

From a more mainline point of view, children's/young adult literature is often written to target an audience about 2 years younger than the protagonist. So, if Harry is 11 when he goes off to Hogwarts, the books are written to appeal especially to the 9-year-old child. And to me apparently, but I'll try not to analyze that too much, LOL!
post #9 of 21
In the last year, I've read the first 6 books to my kids. Ds was 8 when we started, dd was 6. They are both antsy for me to read the last book - we'll probably start it this weekend.
post #10 of 21
I'm 20 years old. I remember that my mom went out and got the first book as soon as it came out (she did the same with all the rest and if she were still alive I'm sure she'd be doing the same!). It came to the US in 1997, which makes me 7 years old. We read a chapter each night before bed It wasn't too scary for me by any means
post #11 of 21
Two nights ago, we had this very discussion about age-appropriateness and Harry Potter at my 3rd grade son's Waldorf school parent meeting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
Honestly, I don't think there's any sort of Steiner indication for when to read the Harry Potter books, although I would be interested to hear from someone with formal Waldorf training.
His teacher said that developmentally, it is best to wait until the children are the same age as Harry himself - starting at age 10, then reading one book per year as they grow along with Harry. Not only was it more appropriate from a developmental standpoint, but the children will more fully be able to appreciate the plot, the richness of the storyline itself. Another parent mentioned that this is how the author wrote the books in the first place. One when her DD (?) was 10yo and writing/unveiling new ones at about the rate mentioned above. Not sure if that's actually true or was her motivation, but it does make sense on some level about being able to meet Harry where he is in age.

That said, my almost 9yo and I have read the first 4 books out loud and we loved them. He has not seemed to be affected on the surface (never acted scared even once), but I do sometimes wonder what the underlying message that is sinking down into him is...

Afterall, the core of the story is that Harry is a young boy who lives in an abusive home part of the year (aunt and uncle's), and his parents were murdered in front of him. And the person who killed them wants nothing more than to kill him too. Pretty heavy stuff at the core for a young child.

No judgments, just more to ponder...I'm doing the same thing myself.
post #12 of 21
I'm not Waldorf by any stretch of the imagination, but I did teach middle schoolers for many years. I think I would let kids under 11 or so read the first 4 books, and then have them wait for the next 3 until they were 12-14. I definitely don't think that one needs to be 17 to read the last one, but the last three books did have a pretty big jump in maturity in terms of the themes and character interactions/motivations.

I would theoretically allow a child as young as 6 or 7 to read the first two, and then encourage them to wait for the next two.

Maybe a good way to create the wait is to make the reading of a book part of the annual ritual leading up to Halloween/Christmas/birthday?
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariposita View Post
His teacher said that developmentally, it is best to wait until the children are the same age as Harry himself - starting at age 10, then reading one book per year as they grow along with Harry. Not only was it more appropriate from a developmental standpoint, but the children will more fully be able to appreciate the plot, the richness of the storyline itself.
Yeah, this is what I think about. Will my child 'get it'? Versus, just how much is my child begging me to read it aloud? Or really, just how much have I been looking forward to reading it to my child?

At age seven my kids didn't know particularly much about British boarding schools. JK Rowling's population of characters, and her details, tend to be Dickensian in scope! Lol! I know they didn't necessarily keep track of little important details introduced at the beginning of the book that showed up at the end of the book. Frankly I think most adults struggle to do this!

But that's the joy of these books. They're so rich, complex and engaging on so many levels, appealing to all ages. It's perfectly acceptable, in fact it's a wonderful thing, that we can read these books to our kids when they're little, then they can read them to themselves later and get more out of them. And with each re-read thereafter, as they get older and more sophisticated.

Is it going to harm my child to read Sorcerer's Stone at age seven? No. Will my child get everything out of it? Not at all. That's alright.

And I just can't imagine making my seven year old wait till they were nine years old to start on Harry Potter, if they were asking for it! No way!
post #14 of 21
Most children will want to read through the entire series once they get started. The later books are much darker as Harry grows up. Are you willing to delay the series too? Just something to think about.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the great discussion! I really want to start now because I have enjoyed the books so much (and so many times!) over the years! But I think I will wait a little longer. Or, at least I'll do my best! I feel like it's a gift that I am trying to keep from telling him about... He's going to love the books, but I think he needs to be a little more mature (rather than just a little older...).

Thanks again!
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariposita View Post
Two nights ago, we had this very discussion about age-appropriateness and Harry Potter at my 3rd grade son's Waldorf school parent meeting.
His teacher said that developmentally, it is best to wait until the children are the same age as Harry himself - starting at age 10, then reading one book per year as they grow along with Harry. Not only was it more appropriate from a developmental standpoint, but the children will more fully be able to appreciate the plot, the richness of the storyline itself. Another parent mentioned that this is how the author wrote the books in the first place. One when her DD (?) was 10yo and writing/unveiling new ones at about the rate mentioned above. Not sure if that's actually true or was her motivation, but it does make sense on some level about being able to meet Harry where he is in age.
That's funny, so did I, and was told the same thing. So, Harry is 10 in the first one? I've not read it.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Oh, Melaniee, you are missing out! You should definitely read them!

The first few you will fly through... Then they get deeper and JK finds her stride as a writer. Excellent books.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammom View Post
Oh, Melaniee, you are missing out! You should definitely read them!

The first few you will fly through... Then they get deeper and JK finds her stride as a writer. Excellent books.
After I finish the 101 parenting and education books I've not read.

I did start watching the movies, though. If I don't get to them I'll do them with my child.
post #19 of 21

i would wait until a bit older so he can really get into it... in he mean time maybe d harry potter -ish stuff? there is a hogwarts summer school thing on yahoo groups with lots of ideas. The idea of the whole thing is fun and i think you can work it into play /pretend time without having to read the books to him. 

 

if the interest is still there then you can reassess if he's ready for the books.

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammom View Post

Thank you all for the great discussion! I really want to start now because I have enjoyed the books so much (and so many times!) over the years! But I think I will wait a little longer. Or, at least I'll do my best! I feel like it's a gift that I am trying to keep from telling him about... He's going to love the books, but I think he needs to be a little more mature (rather than just a little older...).

Thanks again!

 

Of the children in my dd's 5th grade class (where the average age at this point is 11 or turning 11) several of them have read the first 2 books.  The 2 children who read the whole series did so before joining our W. school.  Obviously they are not damaged from the experience, but they and their parents believe that it was not optimal.  Our class teacher recommends sticking with the age of the protagonist, and when specifically asked about HP last year in 4th grade said that it depended upon the child but definitely not more than the first 2 books. 

 

Your child will really dramatically change between 7 and 10.  I can't imagine reading HP (and I did read and enjoy the entire series) to my 7.5yo.

 

There are SO many great books out there.  You and your child really are rewarded by saving them for when he'll really get them.

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