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[Susan notes: It is great to catch journalists saying something right about education policy.]

Submitted to Houston Chronicle but not published

To the editor

The Mi>Chronicle is correct in emphasizing the importance of providing access to books for low-income readers ("Read 'em and Reap," March 28). Study after study shows that more access to books results in more reading, and more reading results in higher reading achievement.

The most efficient and cost-effective way to do this is to increase funding for libraries and librarians. Research done in the US and internationally shows that access to libraries with better collections and staffing is related to better reading achievement. A small fraction of the amount we plan to spend on national standards and tests, invested in school and public libraries and library services, would ensure that all children have access to books.

Both Houston and Los Angeles (where I live) have reason to take libraries more seriously. Out of 75 cities, Houston ranked 73rd and Los Angeles 70th in libraries and library services, according to the recent "America's most Literate Cities" report.

Stephen Krashen

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