Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education
Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education, Department of Educational Research, County South, Lancaster University, LA1 4YD, UK
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Seminar Series - Children's literacies and Harry Potter

Date: 28 May 2014 Time: 12.30 - 2.00 p.m.

Venue: B.89 County South

Dr Steve Dempster, Educational Research, Joanne Thistlethwaite, LAEL & Alice Oliver, LAEL

Lancaster University

Children's literacies and Harry Potter

Literacy frequently makes the news in terms of a moral panic about children's achievement. This debate intersects with that surrounding boys' wider academic performance at school. Enter Harry Potter, and media claims that the series has transformed children's reading, in particular that of boys. All seven of the Harry Potter books remain in the 'top ten' of UK books (up to 2012). But who are the readers, and what are the educational benefits (if any) of the Harry Potter phenomenon, in terms of literacy and attitudes to reading in general and to fiction in particular? Have British boys really benefitted from the Potter series, and disproportionately to girls?

In this presentation we aim to go beyond folklore and anecdote to look at what children themselves say about their Harry Potter experience and those of other books. Drawing on our evidence we will try to discern what exactly it is about Harry Potter that they like, what got them interested in the series, and whether they think that Harry Potter has improved their reading more widely. We consider the potential impact of home literacies and will consider how parents and teachers might use popular fiction to improve children's overall literacy.

This project was funded by the British Academy.


Who can attend: Anyone


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