It is with bittersweet anticipation that Hogwarts disciples await the final installment of the Harry Potter series, to be released across the land at midnight on July 21st. Young readers such as Ithaca, New York, sixth-grader Marcus Weathersby won't be the only ones sad to witness the dynasty's end, however; lovers of learning should be just as disappointed. According to a 2006 survey of readers ages 5 to 17 and their parents, these masterly tales of wizardry have not only helped improve kids' attitudes toward reading, but have positively affected other schoolwork, too. Young Weathersby for one credits the Harry Potter books for getting him interested in reading. "I whip through 50 books a year," he said. Wonder whether Marcus conjured up a hyperbole potion in his spare time. But he clearly now enjoys reading, and the Harry Potter series has helped millions of youngsters like him across the country and globe figure out how magical reading and books can be. If Gadfly had tear ducts, he'd be a little weepy.

"Harry Potter and the magic of reading," by Shayna Garlick, Christian Science Monitor, May 2, 2007

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