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[Susan notes: Stephen Krashen makes an excellent point about coaches and long-term solutions.]

Submitted to Minneapolis Star Tribune but not published

To the editor

Libraries or coaches?

St. Paul thinks that "coaches" can intervene and raise reading scores

for lower grade and high school students ("St. Paul schools rev up for

test season," Feb 18).

I wonder if St. Paul Public Schools are aware of the tremendous amount

of research that consistently shows that the amount of self-selected

voluntary reading students do is strongly related to reading test

scores: Those who read more read better, have larger vocabularies,

write better, spell better and have better control of complex

grammatical constructions.

Students who score poorly on reading tests are typically those who

live in poverty, and who have little access to good reading material

at home or in their communities. Research also confirms that better

school libraries and the presence of credentialed librarians are

related to higher reading test scores. The obvious step to take is to

increase support for school libraries and school librarians.

Coaching is a short-term action that may or may not help the few

students served. Improving libraries and library staffing is a

long-term solution that will benefit all students.

Stephen Krashen

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