In my youth I could hardly wait for the Saturday matinee, when the next installment of "the serial" that preceded the main feature film was shown. We kids talked about it at school. What would we do if faced with an avalanche, raging flood ... the peril of your choice. What we did not talk about was the deeper social significance of the color of the hero's horse or why bad guys wore black.
J.K. Rowling provides us -- from 8 to 80 -- with a return to the glory days of the serial, when all we really want to know is ... what's going to happen next?
"The Wizardry of Reading" (editorial, June 23) mentioned that the American publishers of the first Harry Potter book changed the title because they feared the term "philosopher's stone" was not appropriate for American children. When I checked other countries' titles, as they came out in the Economist magazine's lists of bestsellers in other countries, the U.S. was the only country listed with a changed title.
Incidentally, they translate colloquial English usage to American (e.g., windscreen to windshield) in the books. I suspect English English wouldn't have stopped a single kid from reading the Potter books -- and all would be better educated for it.
As your editorial stated, "Tens of thousands of children spent the weekend glued to the latest Harry Potter book, proving once again that we don't need to bribe kids to read. We just need to give them something worth reading." I just read a wonderful illustrated book to my grandchildren, called "The King of Skittledeedoo," a fanciful tale of a king who couldn't read, and his citizens removed him from office
Brenda Valenzuela (age 12) is on Page 547. As LAUSD's children on the year-round program prepare to return from their summer break, I hear little fingers all over Los Angeles hurriedly flipping through "The Order of the Phoenix" to finish before school starts. Brenda's younger sister, Elena (age 9), rereads the "Goblet of Fire" (now on Page 383) in anticipation of the hand-me-down she will soon receive. I think to myself, when was the last time I read a book that long? Go girls!