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[Susan notes: Stephen Krashen's last line is a quip that serves well as a bumper sticker, button, banner--and as a punchline in your own letter to the media.

Let's invest in promoting learning, not just measuring it.]

Submitted to Los Angeles Times but not published

To the editor

Marilyn Johnson's message, U.S. public libraries: We lose them at our peril, (July 6), is especially relevant to California. In the recent America's Most Literate Cities report, four California cities captured the bottom four places in public library quality: Los Angeles (67th), Anaheim (68th), Stockton (69th), and Santa Ana (70th). California also has the worst supported school libraries in the country, in terms of both holdings and staffing.

Study after study shows that library quality is related to higher scores on reading tests. It is therefore not surprising that that California children do poorly on reading tests (California 4th graders were third from last in the US in 2007): Children get better in reading by reading a lot, and they read more when they have access to books.

Let's divert some of the huge sums spent on testing to funding libraries. Let's invest in promoting learning, not just measuring it.

Stephen Krashen

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