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[Susan notes: Stephen Krashen is right on target. California has scrimped on libraries for many years. . . and the children suffer as a result.]

Submitted to San Jose Mercury News but not published

To the editor

California's "stellar standards have failed to produce stellar students" because higher standards never result in higher achievement ("California could adopt national English, math standards," 7/25). California will always "languish near the bottom" on reading tests as long as it refuses to invest in libraries.

Dedicated readers have no trouble meeting the reading standards. Those who are not have no chance. These "skills" are not taught but are gradually absorbed through wide reading. For many children the only place to get books is the library.

Studies consistently show that school library quality and the presence of a credentialed librarian relate to reading achievement. California has the worst supported libraries in the US.

Susan Ohanian points out that providing rigorous standards to students without the means to meet them is like giving menus to starving people. Debating the content of the standards is simply discussing what will be on the menu.

Stephen Krashen

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