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[Susan notes: Here is another great letter from Steve Krashen. He provides a model on how to write a letter to editor.]

Published in Los Angeles Times

To the editor

Re "Study Offers Grim Look at Schools," Jan. 4: California fourth-graders' low performance on a national reading test in 1992 prompted the adoption of an extreme phonics-based approach, along with "tougher" academic standards. Now the Rand Corp. tells us that there has been no significant change in students' reading scores since the early 1990s. The analysis shows that the high percentage of language-minority students does not account for the low scores. The report, however, fails to even consider the most obvious cause.

Research has confirmed that library quality is related to reading scores. California has the worst school libraries in the country and ranks near the bottom in the quality of public libraries.

Children improve in reading in only one way: by reading a lot. Without increased access to books, we can continue to expect dismal reading scores.

Stephen Krashen

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