While children’s literacy is of concern, Harry Potter is sometimes identified as a ray of light. This paper explores the ‘Harry Potter effect’ empirically. Questionnaire responses from 621 primary and secondary school pupils point to certain relationships between the Potter books and boys' and girls’ reported literacy practices and achievements. Most readers claimed that Harry Potter had helped their reading, but gender-differential tendencies were not significant, and claims regarding any revolutionary impact of Potter on boys’ reading would seem misplaced. A few significant gender tendencies were found, for example numbers of readers (more boys), and re-reading the novels (associated with girls).