Tuesday, 2 August 2011

From Selena Gallagher

I first discovered Harry Potter in 2001. We were staying with friends and I was in need of a book to read to my sons as part of our nightly reading ritual (a practice which has had tremendous benefits – but that’s another story). There was a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on the shelf. I’d heard of it, of course. But, to be honest, all the hype in the media had put me off a bit. Still, I started reading chapter one to my sons that night. The rest, as they say, is history! I can honestly say that I was hooked from that very first chapter. At that time, the first four books had already been released, so I was able to read all four in quick succession. After that I joined the millions of fans waiting, impatiently, for the release of each new book.

The timing of the Harry Potter phenomenon was serendipitous, as it coincided with the exponential growth of the internet. This fuelled the phenomenon, as armies of fans congregated online to endlessly debate, theorise, speculate and analyse the series. Communities developed built solely around the shared love for a book series, and these communities encompassed tremendous diversity of young and old(er!) fans from all walks of life. It was perhaps this facility for sharing that helped to build my own love for the books. Each new reading peeled back another layer of meaning, like an onion, and discussing the books online, with like-minded people, revealed hitherto unseen symbolism and insight.

When I began to develop enrichment workshops for gifted students, the Harry Potter series was a natural choice for a theme. Their appeal for gifted readers was unquestionable. Avid readers delighted in the sophisticated wordplay, humour and references to mythology, not to mention the finely constructed minutiae of the world that J K Rowling created. The pleasure I got from sharing my appreciation of the books online was multiplied tenfold by sharing the series with the students. While they had already read and enjoyed the books, their understanding was enhanced tremendously by the opportunity to engage in activities around the books and discuss them with me and with each other. For instance, when a student who has previously missed it suddenly realises that the Mirror of Erised is really the mirror of desire, their reaction is brilliant to behold as they then begin to question what else they missed and realise they have to read the books all over again!


Having shared my Harry Potter themed workshops with select groups of students, I realised that it would be wonderful to share them with a wider audience, so I contacted Essential Resources with my idea for a book. From the initial expression of my idea to the production of the finished book, the whole process has been straightforward, accessible, and incredibly fast. So much so in fact, that it is almost as if the team at Essential Resources have worked some magic of their own! 

Literacy Magic is available from our website where it can be previewed using our online viewer.




 










Thanks Selena, the book is brilliant. Tanya, Gwen and I have loved working with you on this magical project and look forward to the next adventure. ~ Geraldine

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