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[Susan notes: We all owe Stephen Krashen a debt of gratitutde for his relentless campaign to make visible the statistics on libraries--and their importance to young readers.]

Published in Los Angeles Times

To the editor

The LA Times wants to know if politicians are willing to take on costly and difficult reforms in the face of "disappointing" test scores, now that we know that the move to intensive phonics "didn't come close to creating a literate crop of students" ("Test of commitment to kids," August 19).

Many studies have linked low reading scores to lack of access to books, specifically to low quality public and school libraries. California has the worst school libraries in the US, with 14 books per child, comparedto the national average of 22 books per child. A recent report from the University of Wisconsin revealed that California also has the worst public libraries in the country: Out of 79 cities, Los Angeles public libraries ranked 73rd, Sacramento's were 76th, Anaheim's 78th and Santa Ana's public libraries were dead last at 79th.

Improving collections and expanding staffing for

California's school and public libraries might not

solve all our problems, but it is an obvious first


Stephen Krashen

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