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[Susan notes: Our champion letter writer scores again.]

Published in USA Today
12/30/2004

To the editor



Isaac Asimov wrote, "When I read about the way in

which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself."



The closure of public libraries in Salinas is a

disaster, especially for a city in a state with some of the lowest reading scores in the nation “Calif. City to shutter its libraries,” News, Monday).



Research shows that better public and school libraries are related to better reading achievement. The reason for this is obvious: Children become better readers by reading more, and for many children, the library is the only place they have access to books. California has

the worst school libraries in the country, and

California’s public libraries rank near the bottom.



When California’s low reading scores were first

announced in 1992, it stimulated a rush to heavy

phonics instruction. But it didn’t work. California fourth-graders’ performance on the most recent national reading test was at the same dismal level as it was in 1992.



There is a more reasonable and less expensive

solution: Improving, not destroying, public and school libraries.

Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus, USC


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