NEW YORK, July 11 (UPI) -- A U.S. report says Harry Potter's magical powers have failed to transform the long-term reading habits of children.
The Harry Potter series has sold 325 million copies worldwide over the past decade but federal statistics show the percentage of children who read for fun continues to drop as they get older at almost exactly the same rate as before Harry Potter, The New York Times said Wednesday.
A report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress said the percentage of kids who read for fun almost every day dropped from 43 percent in fourth grade to 19 percent in eighth grade in 1998 when the first Harry Potter book arrived in the United States. In 2005, the results were identical, the newspaper said.
"The Harry Potter craze was a very positive thing for kids," Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, told the newspaper. "It got millions of kids to read a long and reasonably complex series of books. The trouble is that one Harry Potter novel every few years is not enough to reverse the decline in reading."