How Pokemon, Harry Potter, And Halo Taught Me To Read

When I first started playing Pokemon Cards with my friends I didn’t really read all the text. Of course, I knew all the Pokemon by heart, so I didn’t need to read their names, but the different abilities they had, I did need to read. However, I found key words that told me what they did, without reading the whole description. Words like” flip, coin, energy (and there would be a symbol for energy near the word, typically), retreat, poison, paralyze, and a number of other conditions, all made it easy for me to cheat when reading these cards. But that was more reading than I’d ever done before–and the fact that I could read at all was a step forward.

Then, when I was in 7th grade my parents got the first three Harry Potter Books for me for Xmas. My dad had thought it was a bad idea, just another reminder that I couldn’t read. But my parents read all three of them to me, and I didn’t want to stop there. I asked them to read them to me over and over again. I could really see myself as Harry, I think most people could, that’s why the books were/are so popular.

Waiting for the release of books has never been more painful. Each Harry Potter book release was like a birthday, except even more rare–they only came once every 2-3 years!

Harry Potter showed me how exciting reading can be. It showed how much fun it can be to lose yourself in a book, even if that book was read to you by a parent.

One year later, 8th grade, something monumental happened for me. Microsoft released its first ever Xbox and with it the video game, Halo. Halo was so much fun, I loved the game play and characters. My friend had it and I spent Monday nights at his house while my parents were at work late that night and early the next morning. Which gave us both time to play through Halo, over and over again. This friend, he was reading a spin off book from the game, a prequel that was much more heavy on story than the game was. Once my friend finished it he told me about it, and I was so interested in the game I picked it up and began a year long journey to read my first novel ever. I was in 8th grade.

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