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[Susan notes: 3 cheers for Krashen. The article leaves out all the important information.]

Submitted to Times-Pacayune (New Orleans) but not published

To the editor

The Times-Pacayune reported that 90% of St. Tammany Parish third graders read at or above grade level ("90% of 3rd-graders read on par ," January 21). St. Tammany generally scores at the top of all districts in Louisiana; there have only been small variations in its scores over the last five years. It is also a wealthy district: In 2000, the average household income in St. Tammany was $61,500, compared to the state average of $45,000. Statewide, 27% of school age children live in poverty, but only 11% do in St. Tammany. Studies show that children from higher-income families have far more access to books and other reading material than children from low-income families. They have more books at home, have access to better school and public libraries, and live closer to good bookstores. This means they read more, and hence read better.

In addition, St. Tammany also offers "transitional first grade" - one must ask how many children tested have had the benefit of an extra year of schooling?

These factors need to be considered before attributing these high test scores to a particular reading program.

Stephen Krashen, Emeritus Professor, USC

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