Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

[Susan notes: Good for Steve Krashen for suggesting modest and conservative steps to improve schools. Wouldn't it be great to take back the word conservative?]

Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution

To the editor

Before taking the radical and expensive steps of restructuring middle schools or making deep changes in the curriculum ("Stuck in the middle with schools," AJC editorial, "Custom focus vital for middle schools," by Deborah Kasak, August 1) why not try the obvious? The schools with the lowest test scores are nearly always those in high poverty areas, areas inwhich children typically have little access to books in school or at home, and that tend to be served by
inferior public libraries.

We have overwhelming evidence that those with easier access to books do more recreational reading, and those who read more for pleasure read better. Research also shows that pleasure readers also write better, have larger vocabularies, spell better, have better control of complex grammatical structures, and know more about literature, history and science. There
is also a great deal of research showing that better school libraries are associated with higher scores on reading tests.

Improving school and public libraries, especially in high-poverty areas, will not solve all problems, but it is a modest and conservative step that needs to be taken before we discuss more costly and complex proposals.

Stephen Krashen

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.