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[Susan notes: Powerful letter. People who care about public schools in Los Angeles should flood the paper with similar letters.]

Submitted to Los Angeles Times but not published

To the editor

Research and common sense tell us that we get better at reading (and writing, spelling, grammar and vocabulary) when we read a lot. But we can only read a lot if we have access to books. Most students in LAUSD are without access to books: they have nowhere to turn.

Eighty percent of LAUSD students live in poverty, which means, among others things, very few books in the home. Studies show that there are few bookstores in high-poverty neighborhoods. The Los Angeles public library system ranks 69th out of 77, according to the latest "most literate cities" report. School is not helping: The Times reports that in "Many L.A. Unified school libraries, lacking staff, are forced to shut," (Feb. 24).

Let's invest more in libraries and librarians, rather than in untested technology that is often obsolete by the time it is installed.

Stephen Krashen

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