I know this will vary from child to child, but in general what is a good age at which they will not be scared and understand most of the story. What other books would indicate that a child is ready to start having Harry Potter read to them by a parent?

Our six year old boy loved E.B. White's 'The Trumpet of the Swan', but the vocabulary of 'The Incredible Journey' was too much for him and although he followed the main story he missed many of the nuances. I am thinking that 7 1/2 would be a good age for him.

asked 09 Nov '09, 18:32

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Jeff Bloom
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edited 10 Nov '09, 22:04


This is a tricky question. For Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone, I would probably be comfortable around age 10. However, I feel that the later books are more appropriate in the teen years.

I remember reading once, though can't remember where, that JK Rowling wrote the series to grow with her original audience. As a result, the next book in the series tended to appear about the time the original children were ready to process them. Unfortunately, this doesn't work as well now that all the books are available. Once children find a series/author they like, they tend to want to read everything related to the book immediately. Because of this, I probably won't introduce my son to Harry Potter until his teen years. If he discovers it on his own, I won't stop him from reading the series earlier but will make a special effort to talk to him about the various issues in each book.

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answered 09 Nov '09, 19:02

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edited 09 Nov '09, 19:16

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We are in the middle of reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to our 10- and 7-year-olds, having completed the first three books over the last few months.

We started reading the first book to them a couple of years ago, but my younger son Nicky who was five (or maybe just six) at the time just couldn't stay involved enough - he'd forget each day what happened the previous day and lost interest within a week or so. We continued reading to my older son and ended up finishing the series.

Now, Nicky's also ADHD and was undiagnosed at the time, so that may have something to do with it, but when we started again earlier this year, he was better able to remember what happened before and follow along. They both almost look forward to bedtime now. :-)

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answered 09 Nov '09, 19:21

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Have you watched or would you consider watching the first Harry Potter movie, inbetween books, or do you think its better to continue solely with books? I say this because I personally thought that the first couple of films were very well made and could complement the books nicely.

(09 Nov '09, 20:52) Emi
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We've watched all the movies with the boys. In terms of whether it's "better" to continue with the books, I don't really know - that would probably depend greatly on the child. Some of the scenes (basilisk in 2, dragons in 4, fight at the Ministry in 5, inferi in 6) can be pretty intense.

(09 Nov '09, 23:44) Graeme

I don't know that the ADHD was a factor with your son. I also have ADHD and when I find a book interesting, you can't tear me away from it - and I have been like this since childhood. I think it was most likely that your son was just too young to appreciate and understand the events.

(11 Nov '09, 02:03) mkcoehoorn

There are some pretty big themes and frightening topics in the Harry Potter books, especially as the series progresses. Because of this I would wait until the teen years. The books are too good to give to a child before he can appreciate and enjoy them!

I have a friend whose oldest is reading the series (he started when he was 11, the same age as Harry in the first book). Their rule is one book a year, so their son is kind of growing up with Harry. Personally that would drive me nuts, but it seems to be working for their family. He really looks forward to birthdays! :)

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answered 10 Nov '09, 06:25

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That may work now, but when their son is 15 and not allowed to read book 6, which his friends all read many years ago, he might feel differently.

(10 Nov '09, 11:58) Graeme
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@Graeme: this is a problem all parents who set limits face. This is especially when those limits are not consistent with the mainstream.

(12 Nov '09, 15:19) Dinah

My daughter read Harry Potter for herself when she was 7 years old and I was fine with it. I don't feel that their is anything innapropriate in the books and if they don't understand it they can just read it again. We have tried reading it to our four-year-old but she lost interest pretty quickly. I think it really depends on the child as the four-year-old doesn't lose interest with the movies but the once seven year old will.

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answered 07 Mar '13, 01:58

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My wife has already started reading the first HP book to our 3-month-old, mostly because it's a book my wife enjoys and it breaks up the monotony of children's books.

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answered 09 Nov '09, 18:51

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I think books 1-3 are a lot "safer" than the remainder of the series. I'd think they would be acceptable for an 8 or 9 year old to read him or herself. If you're reading them aloud to the child, and can be there to answer questions and smooth over the questionable themes, I'd probably think a 5 or 6 year old could handle them.

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answered 12 Nov '09, 14:46

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Asked: 09 Nov '09, 18:32

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Last updated: 07 Mar '13, 01:58