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Listen to Alex Avila

As the Tigers catcher, Alex Avila gets to travel all around the country to play games in different ballparks. He sees new cities and meets lots of new people. But Avila doesn’t need to travel to take a journey. Some of his best adventures he found in books! “I like the different adventures you can partake in while read- ing,” he says. “Just use your imagination. Really, the sky is the limit when you are reading a book.”

When growing up, Alex Avila loved the Harry Potter books.

As a kid, Avila especially loved the magical world of the Harry Potter books.

“I think I was in the fourth grade when the first Harry Potter book came out, and we read it in class,” says Avila, who grew up in Florida. “The first few Harry Potter books were my favorite books, and it’s great when you can do something like that in class – read those books where your imagination can just soar.” When Avila first started school — long before he discovered Harry Potter — he only read because he knew his teachers ex- pected him to and because he wanted to make his parents happy. “But once I started to read and do well in school, I realized it was a lot of fun,” he explains. “When you pick up a good book it is actually more entertaining and fun than watching TV or playing video games.”

He also read magazines like Sports Illustrated for Kids (“They had great articles,” he recalls).

And he credits reading with teaching him new words, and letting him keep up with the news.

“I think one of the biggest reasons to read is to be able to expand your vocabulary,” he says. “Sometimes I might come across words I don’t understand or that are new to me, and by reading them I learn them and can use them in my everyday speech. “And being able to read newspapers lets you know what’s going on in the world.”


When Alex Avila was a kid, he liked reading the Harry Potter books. The Harry Potter stories are a type of reading called fantasy. In fantasy books, a writer takes things from the real world and then uses imagination to create a new world where new kinds of people or inventions exist. Alone or with a partner, practice thinking like a fantasy writer. Pick a story from the news, sports or features section of the newspaper. Read it and look for interesting details. Then write down five things you could do to the details you found that would turn the real world of the story into a fantasy world.

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