Letters to the Editor: More school time won’t help kids. Better libraries will

L.A. Unified School District Supt. Alberto Carvalho greets third graders at Martlon School in Los Angeles on Aug. 15.
L.A. Unified School District Supt. Alberto Carvalho greets third graders at Martlon School in Los Angeles on Aug. 15.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Scheduling increased learning time in school does not have strong research support, as The Times points out. (“L.A. teachers union members vote to boycott extra learning day mid-semester,” Aug. 26)

There is a much simpler and more effective way of improving student achievement, and it helps all students: Invest more in libraries and school librarians, and provide more time for browsing and reading during the school day.

Studies show that those who do more reading of books that they select themselves (including fiction) know more about a variety of subjects, including science, technology and social studies.


Solid, replicated research also shows that students in schools with better libraries and that employ credentialed librarians score higher on measures of reading comprehension.

Let’s do the obvious.

Stephen Krashen, Malibu

The writer is a professor emeritus of education at USC.


To the editor: Does anyone believe four extra days in the school year will solve the problems made worse by the pandemic? Really?

Here’s a novel idea: summer school.

If we want to improve student learning, we need to address these issues in the early stages of learning.

Learning disabilities cannot be properly addressed in limited “pull out” sessions during the school year. Non-readers and students with learning disabilities need ongoing diagnosis, practice and support during the summer.


English learners during the summer months often speak another language at home with family members and friends, losing much of what they had acquired.

The needed math skills could be taught with a variety of modalities. Right now, there are many adults who would have difficulty with third-grade math requirements.

Emotional and mental health issues could be diagnosed and addressed by counselors. Other professionals using music, dance, sports and other recreational activities that promote confidence and collaboration could help avoid many disciplinary issues in the future.

Advanced learners could have special courses, and on-level students could have exposure to other disciplines.

Yes, expanding summer school to address these issues would be expensive — very expensive — but society would save much more in the long run.

Joseph Donohue, Palm Desert