When I visited Edinburgh in 2013 and strolled past The Elephant House, the coffee shop where JK Rowling spent her days translating her wizardly story from her imagination to her keyboard, I wasn’t too chuffed. If I was to walk by that same store front today, however? I’d pose for photos, step inside, sit at the table, and thank the universe for conspiring to bring Harry Potter to life.
When my wife and I moved from apartment to house to new city, I looked at the stack of Harry Potter books and questioned why this dead weight was following us around. She hushed me, stuffed them in the bottom drawer of our son’s dresser and insisted one day they would be important.
It has taken me 20 yrs to understand the magic of Harry Potter and, despite having never read a book, and only really glancing at a few of the movies, I’m fully on board.
It was just after January that Zacharie finally cracked open Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone and got through a few pages on his own. After polishing off easier series of books like Galaxy Zack and Jack Stalwart, he went to the book shelf and took out the monumentally thick book and started reading.
And reading. And reading. In just a few weeks he had the book finished and our family sat down on the couch for his promised reward: a viewing of the movie. It’s so easy when you have TELUS Optik and can request the movie OnDemand.
By March, book 2 was done.
Book 3 was done just a few weeks later.
Throughout the spring, Zacharie would push bedtimes well into the night, burning through the pages in his books with obsession each time rewarded by pushing the OnDemand button on our TELUS Optik remote and having the story in his imagination come to life.
Last week, hitting the climax of The Order Of The Phoenix, he came downstairs at 10:00 to apologize for staying up so late. Usually we’re sticklers for bedtimes at our house, but as Zacharie dove into the books, his 8:30 lights out rule would be often stretch well past 9pm.
When you struggle so hard to get your child into reading, and he finds something that clicks, and succeeds, it’s hard to tell them to turn it off.
So we let him read, and then reward him. The Order Of The Phoenix weighed in at more than 600 pages, and took nearly 5 weeks, but he did it.
In 6 months, he’s read 5 volumes of Harry Potter and has gone from behind his class in literacy to near the top of the class.
So, yeah, if I ever get back to that block in Edinburgh where The Elephant House trumpets their Harry Potter connection, I won’t take an obligatory photo and keep walking, I’ll step inside, order a coffee and soak in the spirit of the place that turned my son onto books – and their movie rewards.
Disclsoure: I’m a member of TeamTELUS