Harry Potter concerns - Page 2
It stands for Accelerated Reader, and it's a requirement/percent of total grade for some elementary and middle school students in my area. Here are a few links to give you some information.
I love all the discussion here! :)
I definitely read tons of books that I wasn't ready for as a kid, and ended up re-reading them as I got older and more mature. I'm pretty sure DD will do that too, because she re-read the first HP at least twice before she seemed ready to move on. I suspect that is also her strategy for boosting comprehension--once she was comfortable with that one, she was able to read the other ones independently.
I must say, I am proud of how well she is understanding book 4. We had a long talk tonight about how Ron was upset with Harry, and how they weren't speaking to each other for a while. She is definitely getting the surface story, at least.
I really like the idea of giving one book per year, although my DD wouldn't be able to handle that wait. Hence the removal of books 5-7. She will ransack the house if she thinks they are here.
When she finishes #4, I'm going to try to get her on the Molly Moon series. I think she has a little bit of what my fellow teachers and I call the Hunger Games syndrome--once you've read a super intense/scary/overly mature book, you can't go back to The Boxcar Children. Now it's just a delicate balancing act until she's ready for The Yearling. :)
I think the can of worms is open, so keeping her from moving forward now would be a power struggle you may not want to have. I know that as an AR myself, and coming of age online, I had a mix of experiences with being exposed to things before I was ready and semi-succesful self-regulating. I was very good (and still am!) at regulating horror, gore, violence, etc., because it REALLY affected me emotionally and gave me nightmares (still does!)
However, I wasn't as good about self-regulating on other mature themes. For example, my friend's dad was a human sexuality professor, and we read all kinds of things from that bookshelf (ages 11-16) until moving on to laughing at her older brother's porn stash. I'm no sexual deviant though... so I guess that turned out OK in the end!
I haven't read all the responses yet, but this kind of thing is so child dependent, in my opinion. You just have to know your own child (which I'm sure you do!). No matter what age other parents or scientists think one thing or another is ok, it ultimately boils don to the individual child and the family's values. My 7 yo son cries during those awfully sad ASPCA commercials and we have to turn them off. He also cries during the "Mom locked up and cuddling baby" scene in Dumbo and will remain sad for sometimes days. But on the other hand he watches goosbumps and even watched Army of Darkness and Killer Klowns with me and slept like a baby that night and never has had a nightmare. Kid just does not get scared, and never reenacts violence. But sad stuff? He can't handle it. So I try to shelter him from anything that is even remotely sad or depressing. We had a baby bunny die the other day and it was horrible :( the other two boys could care less though. Funny how they are all so different!
It's been a little while since I read Harry Potter 4, but iirc up until the maze and ensuing ending it's a fairly benign romp with Harry trying to figure out how to handle the challenges, stressing out about asking the girl he likes to the Yule Ball, and stuff like that. If she doesn't get lost or burnt out on what is a fairly long story, you could probably just prep her for the end when she starts getting close by warning her that somebody dies and maybe that somebody who seems to be on Harry's side turns out not to be.
I read the Wizard of Oz series when I was 6 and I guess there's some creepy stuff in that with evil characters plotting to take over the kingdom, good characters being taken prisoner and under threat of death, characters being lost or scared or running low on food or under threat from monsters, etc. and I don't recall any of it upsetting me.
I have had lovely long conversations with her about the darkness of the last books. She knows a bit of what to expect and it's led to great discussions on writing and telling stories.
If I had just taken away the last books, she would have noticed so that wasn't really an option.
Hmmmm.... my girls aren't gifted or precocious readers and reading this level of books on their own yet, so that's an issue I can't comment on. But I read them the Harry Potter series, starting at 5 for dd1. She liked it...meh. Then about a year later, we started the series again and made our way eventually through the entire series, and we even watched the movies-- all of them. My girls are now 6.5 and 8, and we finished the series about 1.5 years ago. Maybe there is something different about having the series read to you and being able to talk about it along the way, compared to reading on your own. Or maybe I'm just a bad parent, seeing as I seem to be the only one who has not only allowed Harry Potter books, but the movies as well. (I was a precocious reader, and I do remember reading all kinds of inappropriate things!)
But as far as the "Hunger Games" comment and not being able to go back to the Boxcar Children, I don't agree with that. We have read Harry Potter, LOTR, the Hobbit, Percy Jackson, (and they've seen all the accompanying movies) and they happily devour Encyclopedia Brown, chapters of Little House, Henry and Mudge. For videos, they still love insipid stuff like Puppy Party. I don't know where the idea came from that you can't go back. Again, perhaps because my girls aren't actually reading the difficult stuff themselves? But if the stories are engaging enough (and many are), then I still don't see why it would be true. I mean, I've read some pretty difficult, complex, exciting, mature stories in my life, and when I bring home Henry and Mudge books and they aren't picking them up right away, you can bet that I read them! I've finished chapter books for myself that we started together and they didn't want to finish. I enjoy the stories. Maybe that makes me the exception, an oddity, but it also makes those assumptions wrong.
oh you can totally go back, honestly. I have a 9 yo kid reading LOTR level stuff but also, Asterix, Little House on the Prairie, the Doctor Who books, Sherlock Holmes and so on. Anything that stays still really. He certainly will balance out emotionally heavy stuff with goofy or light stuff. To be fair, he hasn't gone for stuff like Hunger Games/Twilight etc, but I don't think that boys tend to be drawn to those series'. I read all sorts of probably highly inappropriate stuff at a very young age and I also read younger kids stuff, comics etc.
I also think that my son would have been driven to theft or something if I'd tried to limit Harry Potter to one a year but if you can get away with it, yeah that sounds great :-)
I have other reservations about Harry Potter, about the kind of quite limited political/cultural world and the stereotypes of minorities and women that I feel are shown, but reading wise, no, I'm not worried. I think my 7 year old has read or listened to them all though I'd have to check with her. She's read a fair bit of her brother's bookshelf but is also happy with her little sister's early chapter books and a nice picture book too. I don't think its a huge issue, at least in my family.
(ooops sorry just noticed this was in the gifted forum, sorry, SweetSilver saw you and think I thought homeschooling! I don't identify mine as gifted or anything either, we're homeschoolers and it really doesn't arise either way. Apologies, didn't mean to crash)
No, I've only posted here one other time. Felt this subject and my response was still appropriate. I think yours was, too. There's been comments at other times about this being an issue more with firstborns, because younger siblings end up exposed to this stuff by default.
My mother never censored what I read. I went to an awesome university and my life is dedicated to helping people.
Let your child read what she wants. If something does not sit well with her, she can put it down.
I read all the Chekhov, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy by age 12.
My kid has been watching South Park since age 11. He also a devout dharma student. My other child had never had any limits on his co,mputer time. He has job at start upa nd volunteers with low income kids .
It is not simply what your child read or watches but how you frame it.
Hmm, I haven't seen that myself. My dd10 read the Hunger Games series at age 8.5 and loved them. Subsequently (she's 10 now) she's enjoyed many less intense books: a number of the Anne of Green Gables series, for instance, some Kate diCamillo, E.L. Konigsburg, Philippa Pearce. Mixed in with Life of Pi and other more mature stuff.
What a helpful thread. I really appreciate the book recommendations.
DS is turning 6 and reading well but there is no way I would allow him to read my beloved HP yet, not even the first. I just think the themes are way too mature for him. I will say that he is tv-free so it may be that he doesn't have the exposure to casual violence that a lot of kids have.
Just a heads up - the Harry Potter discussions may never end with your kids. DD is 17 and read all of the books many years ago. She still gets into lengthy conversations about the books...most recently over this Youtube video of a spoken word performance.
I think I found it far easier, or at least more straightforward, with a child dealing with the scary and dark themes than I have with a teenager/almost adult questioning, challenging and debating stereotypes and subtext, lol.
Edited by ollyoxenfree - 5/21/13 at 8:52am
Hi everyone--I loved reading all the comments!
First of all, I didn't mean to start anything with the Hunger Games comment. It's just something I notice with my students and my DD, and I did not mean to suggest that everyone falls into that trap. Of course kids do move up and down with their reading levels and interests; however, I personally have seen students lose interest in books that suddenly seem too young after they have been exposed to something much more intense.
I did end up spoiling the end of #4 for her, and she immediately burst into tears and announced that she was not going to finish the book. I told her that that was fine, and I offered to finish it with her when she decided she was ready. She is now re-reading #3 again, and has not even touched #4. I'm happy that she knows her limits, and I'm also happy that she has put it down. I feel that #4 and beyond are too dark for a barely 6 year old (at least for mine).
She is loving her HP legos right now, so I'm hoping that re-reading and imaginary play will carry us through at a few weeks, at least!
Thanks so much for all the perspectives and input! :)
Man this is a tough one! I've really enjoyed reading the replies here.
I know I've been reading the first book aloud to my little one, for fun, and I have thought about what to do about the older books. I'm definitely concerned about the darkness of books 5 onward.
I do remember, though, as a child I read books much too old for me - I had a really big fondness for Agatha Christie and Edgar Allen Poe in 5th grade - and I turned out okay. There *is* an element of kids just glossing over stuff that they don't "get", so I think part of it is going to be an awareness of what sticks with my little one.
This is maybe neither here nor there but I wouldn't let DD read past book #4 until this year, and I let her read #5. I told her she had to wait for 6 and 7, but she figured out she could check them out at school, so she did. And that was the end of that. She did much better with them then I'd've thought. In the past, people dying have caused a storm of tears, but she seemed to handle it ok.
We took a break after book 3 when DD was in 2nd grade and re-visited the series in third grade.
I will say that when I read aloud to DD, I left out the extra bloody details but while we were on break from the series, she read them to her little sister in full. Sometimes, it is just out of our hands...