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[Susan notes: The point Steve makes in this letter can't be emphasized enough. We should all write similar letters to newspapers across the land.]

Submitted to but not published
09/29/2003

To the editor



Assemblyman Steinberg proposes investing 2 billion dollars per year for universal preschool. There is an easier, less expensive way to

ensure growth in literacy. Research consistently shows that progress in reading is a result of how much children read on their own, and children read more when they have access to interesting books. California has the worst school libraries in the country, with the fewest books and fewest librarians per child, and is near the bottom

in public libraries.This is devastating for children of poverty with little access to books and explains why California has the lowest

reading scores in the nation. Research also shows children make rapid progress when they have access to interesting reading. Children in Cal State Prof. Fay Shin's summer program made over one year's progress in six weeks when provided with interesting books and time to read.



Keith Lance's research shows that better school libraries and better library staffing are related to higher reading scores. The money would be much better spent on a one-time investment in libraries.



The interest on 2 billion would soon provide California with the best staffed and best stocked libraries in the US.

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Below is url for article to which this letter refers:

http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/living/education/6887791.htm

Stephen Krashen, Emeritus Professor, USC


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