"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Long-Term English Learners: Invest in Libraries and Librarians

Sent to the Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA, Nov. 25, 2012
Most of the proposals to deal with long-term English learners (“California's English language learners getting stuck in schools' remedial programs,” November 25) focus on tracking and measurement. None discuss a cure.
Our research shows that students who develop a pleasure reading habit in English do better on English language tests, and a number of case histories confirm that those who successfully acquire “academic English” were dedicated readers.
California makes this very difficult to happen. Many English learners come from low-income families, which means their primary source of books is the library. California has consistently ranked among the worst in the country in support for school libraries and librarians, and California cities rank near the bottom in support of public libraries.
Instead of dedicating our limited funds to better measurement, we might consider investing in better support of libraries and librarians. Let’s feed the animal and not just weigh it.
Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California
Author of The Power of Reading (Heinemann and Libraries Unlimited, 2004, second edition).


  1. This only highlights the fact that local libraries are so important for the education of our children and need to have the investment needed in order to fulfill the requirements of the local communities as source of education for all.

  2. When our country starts to believe that the only way to deal with budget shortages is by closing down libraries, will be a sad day for nation's youth. The library happens to be the most diversified room in the school building. There you can find information about any subject. All students feel like they can identify with what happens in there.
    Plus,librarians are always there, willing and wanting to share their love of learning.