For as long as I can remember, Harry Potter has been a part of my life.
I can remember being tiny and sitting in front of the TV and being mesmerized by the antics of Harry, Ron, and Hermoine. The second one, “The Chamber of Secrets" was always my favorite. Mainly because of the giant snake.
I never knew they were books until I was on a cruise to Mexico when I was four and my older cousin was reading one of the later books (I believe it was “The Order of the Phoenix" yet, I can't remember exactly). As soon as I knew they were books, I wanted to read them.
However, I was a fairly slow reader in my youth. I can remember being in first grade and only reading one book the entire year, while the other kids had three or four books on their belt. I felt out of place because school put me in a specialized reading group with all the other kids who were struggling to read. Yet, every time I walked past the Harry Potter books in the library, I would tap them and think, “one day."
In second grade, I was still fairly behind in reading in contrast to my fellow peers. There was a volunteer, a sweet, older woman with curly, grey-white hair, who would read with me every Thursday. We read a bunch of different things and would never judge me for saying a word wrong or stumbling through a sentence. One day after we read a particularly long story, she asked me, "what's your book goal or book series goal?"
I felt my eyes drifting over to where the Harry Potter books across the library. She followed my line of sight and smiled when she realized what I was looking at. "Harry Potter," she stated, "those are fifth and sixth-grade reading level books." I nodded, slightly embarrassed that I would even think about reading such books with such a high reading level. She must have noticed my cheek flare red because the next thing she said was, "Well, I believe you can do it. Maybe in a few years, but you'll get there."
I can distinctly remember the smile spread across my face when I returned to class.
The next year, in third grade, I remember my teacher telling me that the sweet, older woman who had helped and believed in me had died of a stroke. That day I picked up the first Harry Potter book and started reading.
I struggled through it, I didn't know much of the vocabulary, especially the British vocabulary and phrases. However, I could see my reading comprehension increasing. I graduated from the extra reading classes I had to do, my reading comprehension tests sky-rocketed, and by fourth grade, I was the number one reader in the class.
I credit the Harry Potter series with helping me get to where I am today. They helped me to realize that books weren't actually boring, but adventurous and interesting. Harry Potter turned me into an avid reader, which helped me to graduate High School with honors.
Today, when I put on my "Gryffindor" hat or when I log onto my computer and see my wallpaper, I can't help but think back to second grade and my time spent with the sweet older woman. Each time, I can picture her smile and her telling me she believed in me, which is enough to help me get through any day.