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[Susan notes: It seems like such a simple concept: Kids learn to read by reading--not by receiving reading instruction. Such wisdom will not get Krashen appointed to the Reading First committee.]

Submitted to Washington Post but not published

To the editor

Schools are now devoting 90 minutes to 3 hours per day to reading instruction in preparation for standardized tests, leaving little time left for science and social studies ("School pushes reading, writing, reform," May 31). As the Post documents, reading time is now filled with activities such as teaching reading strategies,

reading short assigned selections and answering

questions, and "reading lists of words in unison."

But not reading itself.

Ironically, a number of researchers have concluded

that the only way to improve reading is actual reading of interesting, comprehensible texts. Children who read a great deal typically read with high comprehension, develop effective reading strategies, write well, and have large vocabularies. If this is true, it means that the large blocks of time devoted to reading instruction may be making things worse, not

better. Science and social studies have been

sacrificed, and students have been given nothing in return.

Stephen Krashen

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