Figuring out the exactly right Harry Potter reading level can make a huge difference for your child. Whether you’re reading the books to your kids or they are reading them by themselves, it is imperative for you to ensure that they are at the right age for enjoying the books.
Yes, the Harry Potter books are amazing at getting children to love reading. One thing we always need to make sure though is that our children are not only the right reading level but also at the right age to actually understand them and truly enjoy Harry’s adventures. Failing to adjust their reading lists according to their level can leave them trying to read books they are not properly prepared to read, which in turn will make them develop a negative relationship with books and reading.
But what age is Harry Potter for and what reading level is Harry Potter? We’ll find out together.
What Reading Level & Age Group Is Harry Potter For?
The reading level of Harry Potter differs from one book to another. While some of the books in the series can be easily grouped together and recommended to certain categories of children, others need some special attention. To make things somewhat easier for you, here’s a short summary of what we are about to go into a lot more detail below:
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Age 8+ (2nd-3rd grade)
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Age 8+ (2nd-3rd grade)
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Age 8+ (2nd-3rd grade)
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Age 10+ (5th grade)
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Age 10+ (5th grade)
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Age 11+ (6th grade)
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Age 13+ (8th grade)
As you can see, the Harry Potter reading level varies from one book from the series to another across a rather wide range. As much as an 8-year-old would want to go through all the books one after another after reading the first couple in the series, they wouldn’t be prepared. That is both due to the Lexile level that is required to fully grasp the content and to the actual story.
Whenever we push our children to read, we always need to make sure that they read books that are appropriate for their age and reading level. Understanding this is key to ensuring that the kid has a pleasurable and moderately challenging reading experience.
An important factor to take into account when choosing books for our children is the Lexile Level, which is a popular method used to determine a child’s reading ability and a scale by which books are categorized according to their difficulty. The Lexile Level (or Lexile Measure) matches the expected reading ability of children grade by grade and ranges from 0L and can go up to 2000L, which is the maximum level.
As promised above, let us go into a little more detail about each reading level and the books that are appropriate for different age groups and why.
Ages 8+ (2nd-3rd Grade)
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The first book in the series requires a reading level of 880L, which makes it an appropriate read for most 2nd and 3rd graders. With a total of 223 pages and an acceptable story complexity, it should not be too challenging. Moreover, the way the story is built and the twists in the action make it a page-turner, which is a huge advantage.
This first book introduces the reader to Harry Potter, an 11-year-old who enters the wizarding world. When it comes to key points that could affect your child emotionally, there are a couple. First of all, the information that Harry’s parents are dead is made known quite early in the book.
On top of this, there are mentions of blood and alcohol consumption throughout the book, and several mystical creatures make an appearance as well: a three-headed dog, a dead unicorn with a hooded creature standing over it, and a nasty troll. When it comes to violence, a fight between Harry Potter and Voldemort is described.
While all of the above may seem like a lot for an 8-year-old to handle, the good news is that the potentially disturbing (from an emotional standpoint) information is scarcely scattered through the book and the focus is on Harry learning magic, playing Quidditch, and making friends. Most 8-year-olds will have no problems going through the entire book as long as they are at the appropriate Lexile rank.
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
My personal favorite, the second book in the series, is just a little bit more difficult than the first one when it comes to the Harry Potter reading level. Sitting at 940L on the Lexical Scale, it is an equally adequate read for most 2nd and 3rd graders and with 251 pages of action-packed adventures in the magical world, it is a book that’s clearly hard to put down.
After returning to Hogwarts with Ron in his flying car, Harry Potter goes through a series of adventures that take a rather dark turn: a monster has been released from the Chamber of Secrets.
While some parts of the book are definitely scary, like the giant spiders in the Forbidden Forest, ghosts, and a giant snake among other things, most 8-year-olds will have no issues going through the whole novel. Blood is also mentioned and some students get a petrification curse, but overall, the book is not much more violent than the first one in the series.
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The third book brings the reading level back to 880L, making it a bit easier to read than the second volume. It is a bit longer though, and the story is expanded to 317 pages. But that shouldn’t be a problem for any 2nd and 3rd graders who read at the average level for their age group.
Despite the introduction of a serial killer to the mix and the fact that Harry is faced with the need to overcome his fear of Dementors, who are killer monsters who fly and make their victims unable to feel happiness, this novel is not too advanced in terms of emotions compared to the other two in the series.
A child who read the first two books is unlikely to face any difficulties with this one, even though the themes progressed a bit.
Ages 10+ (5th Grade)
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The fourth book in the series comes with a similar score on the Lexical Scale, still at 880L. The story is more complex though and the number of pages is 636, which makes the book a bit more challenging, but still appropriate for any 5th and 6th graders. Luckily though, despite its size, the volume is a real page-turner, which will make it almost impossible for any kid to give up on reading it. The characters and the story develop more than in the previous books and some pretty big questions are being answered.
While the book is not a lot more difficult than the previous ones in the series in terms of Lexile rank, the action does progress a bit when it comes to the emotions the reader goes through.
The death of a student is responsible for a major change of tone in this book. Even though there are a lot of fun parts, like the Yule Ball or the Quidditch Championship, there is also some darkness your child should be prepared to face from an emotional standpoint.
Violence is more present than in the previous novels in the series, with blood, torture, imprisonment, drinking, betrayal, and the sad realization that things don’t always end on a happy note. The Harry Potter reading level changes from this book onward, and this can be considered a turning point in the series. As the characters age and mature, so should the audience.
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
This is where things start to get a little more complicated in the series. The fifth album comes with a reading level requirement of 950L and a complex action timeline spread over 766 pages, making it the longest one in the series. The grade range of the reading level is expanded between the 5th and 7th grades.
The darkness slightly grows in this novel, and the reader should be prepared to face and process the death of another character that is particularly important to Harry Potter. Among other things, the reader will have to go through a fight scene and read about torture, violence, cursing, a snake attack, and again, underage drinking.
The book is slightly darker and sadder than the previous one in the series, but that doesn’t affect the Harry Potter reading level too much.
Ages 11+ (6th Grade)
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The most complex book of the series, the sixth one, comes with 607 action-packed pages and a reading level requirement of 1050L. It is therefore recommended for any 6th-8th graders who reach this level. As you can see, the books grow in complexity towards the end of the series, but that is actually a great thing because your child’s reading level is likely to have increased by the time he gets to read the last two books of the series.
On top of the increase in the Harry Potter Lexile level, the reader will be exposed to Voldemort’s rather disturbing origin story. The violence and darkness also see a significant increase throughout this book.
The author describes the emotional distress caused by Harry Potter’s burden as an essential player in the good vs evil battle. Love and romance start playing a role in the story, but things don’t heat up too much.
The death of a very prominent and beloved character is particularly devastating in this novel, and the reader needs to be prepared to handle it, along with more violence, blood, and as a new addition, zombies.
Ages 13+ (8th Grade)
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The last book of the series is a bit of a lighter read than the previous one, but still complex enough to require a reading level of 980L, making it appropriate for 7th and 8th graders. The last 607 pages of the series are an amazing conclusion to Harry Potter’s adventures.
There is a lot more depth in this final novel of the series. The fight scene between Harry Potter and Voldemort is quite a tough read at times. There is quite a lot of bloodshed throughout the book, violence, murder, and several deaths of both important and less relevant characters.
The death of a pet is also presented in a rather heartbreaking fashion and there are many life lessons your child should be ready to learn. Themes like courage, the meaning of life, death, friendship, and loyalty are explored with a lot more depth and in a more realistic way.
While the Harry Potter English level required for this book is not significantly different from those of the previous novels, there is a lot more information and depth your child should be able to grasp in order to fully experience this book as it was intended. Both Harry and the other characters have matured, and the battle between good and evil is no longer just that, it is also explored as a part of a grander scheme of life.
As you can see, the Harry Potter grade level ranges significantly through the course of the series. One important thing to always keep in mind is that while the grade level is definitely relevant from the standpoint of the ability a child has to actually read and understand the books, you should always take note of the child’s emotional level.
While some of the books require a relatively low English level, they do need the child to be mature enough to be able to properly handle some violence, a good amount of bloodshed, and emotional experiences. Our Harry Potter reading level guide does provide accurate and relevant information, but in the end, it is the parents who need to evaluate and decide whether their children are mentally prepared to handle Harry’s adventures and burdens.
Why Should You Read Harry Potter With Basmo?
Instilling a love for reading and healthy reading habits in our children is more difficult now than ever before. With thousands of possible distractions and forms of entertainment that are a lot more stimulating from certain points of view, reading keeps taking a back seat when it comes to the things our children are interested in.
While Harry Potter is probably one of the most interesting and well-written series out there, guaranteed to keep children engaged and instill a love for reading, it doesn’t hurt to add a little extra to the mix. How about you teach your child how to use a reading tracking app? It can gamify the experience, help them track their performance, and establish healthy reading habits.
Here’s how reading Harry Potter with Basmo can improve the experience:
Creating a Reading List to Include All Harry Potter Books
First off, keeping track of seven books in a series is not exactly an easy task, especially if this is your first contact with the Harry Potter franchise. Luckily, Basmo can help you ensure that you read all the books in the correct order without having to check online every time you finish a book to see which one is next.
You can simply create a reading list within the Basmo app and include all the volumes in the correct order.
Despite it being a series of books for children and teens, Harry Potter is a surprisingly complex story with a relatively large number of important characters. It wouldn’t hurt to take some notes while reading to make sure you remember all the important information. Reading apps like Basmo can help tremendously with this process.
Saving Relevant Harry Potter Quotes
Again a bit surprisingly for a children’s fantasy fiction series, there’s a lot of wisdom in the Harry Potter books. Both Harry and other characters like Dumbledore or Professor Snape have a pretty good number of lines that are worth remembering.
Saving your favorite quotes is an extremely easy and enjoyable task if you’re using a reading app like Basmo.
Here’s how you do it:
- Start a reading session.
- If you find a line or a quote you want to remember or share on social media, you have two options: you can either add a note manually while reading or you can use the app’s scanning feature, which allows you to can scan whole pages of a book or just paragraphs, extract the text and then format it as you see fit.
- You can even save the quote as an image and share it on any social media platform
On top of the things described above, Basmo comes with many other features which go way beyond improving your Harry Potter reading experience.
You can enjoy relevant statistics about your reading habits, based on your recorded reading sessions, you can use the app to set daily or yearly reading goals and even set reminders to get notified every time you are about to miss out on a day of reading.
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In conclusion, the Harry Potter books can be enjoyed by children of a pretty wide range of ages and reading levels. While the official recommendations above do apply in most cases, it is up to each child and his or her parents to find out if they are at the right age or reading level to enjoy this series.
What’s important is that there is a reason why it was (and still is) such a huge success and while preferences do differ from one reader to another, it’s not every day that we hear about a series that made such a wide range of readers happy.
Use Basmo to make the best of your reading experience and whether you read it for your own enjoyment or to make sure your kid should read it too, we truly hope you will love Harry Potter as much as we do.