NPR

How Harry Potter Has Brought Magic To Classrooms For More Than 20 Years

In the 20 years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was released in the U.S., educators of all levels have used J.K. Rowling's series to bring magic to their own classrooms.
J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series story books sit in a bookstore July 6, 2000 in Arlington, Va. Source: Alex Wong

Whether you're a Gryffindor, a Hufflepuff, a Ravenclaw, a Slytherin or a muggle still hoping your Hogwarts letter will arrive by owl, it is undeniable that the Harry Potter fandom has had a lasting impact throughout the world.

September marked the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone's U.S. release. NPR asked teachers then to tell us how the book has changed the way they teach. We learned that a lot has changed since 1998. Quidditch is no longer just game of fantasy. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is more than a textbook to pick up in Diagon Alley. And Hogwarts is no longer a place you can only dream of visiting.

More than 1,000 educators, from elementary teachers to university professors, responded to NPR's callout with stories about how they incorporate the Harry Potter series into their curriculum and classrooms.

Changing how some classrooms look — and feel

Teachers like Ben VanDonge and Kate Keyes are two-thirds of a fifth-grade teaching team in Walla Walla, Wash. This year marks their third year

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR4 min read
A Decade Ago, Suicides Rocked A French Telecom Firm. Now Its Execs Stand Trial
Prosecutors accuse former executives and managers at France Télécom of "moral harassment" or complicity during a major restructuring.
NPR4 min read
Joel Ross And His (Exceptionally) Good Vibes
The vibraphonist has a "love-hate relationship" with his instrument that has been helpful in perfecting his craft — but it wouldn't mean much without the deep emotional well he pulls from.
NPR5 min readSociety
What One Doctor Is Doing To Fight Antibiotic-Resistant 'Superbugs'
A doctor’s story of what it takes to save patients from increasingly deadly pathogens. As drug-resistant bacteria spread, can new genomic science battle back?