Last summer, our 8 year old boy, despite my discouragement, became determined to read Harry Potter. So we sat down and read it together. He needed a ton of guidance, and I read two out of every three pages of the first book. We went through it in four days. The second one took us longer, mostly because I didn't want to spend all my time sitting on the couch with him, regardless of my admiration for his enthusiasm. By the time the third one came a along his reading level had jumped substantially--just in time for the standardized tests at school.
Then I made him take a break and read three non-HP books on his own, with no guidance. Harry Potter IV is a loooooong book, and it took a while. We went on to start to the fifth, but he grew tired part-way in and went on to read other things.
Last weekend at a birthday party, I was talking to another parent whose son is the same age. He said his boy was reading the books on his own, and I commented that I didn't think our kid could read it without help.
Boy, did the kid prove me wrong!! On Tuesday he picked up where we had left off. Despite having the busiest week of his entire year--play rehearsals every day after school until 5:30, plus homework and a very busy weekend (rehearsals for his other play, his sister's birthday party, baseball, Big Sunday, etc.)--he managed to read over 130 pages completely on his own.
After struggling to get him to read last year, Harry Potter came to the rescue, After struggling to get him to read independently all this year, Harry Potter again came to the rescue.