Letters to the Editor: Give books to every student in addition to distance-learning laptops

LAUSD student receives a laptop
A 10th grader and his mother pick up an LAUSD-issued laptop for distance learning at Linda Esperanza Marquez High School in Huntington Park in March.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Yes, students are losing vital learning opportunities due to lack of resources. Children in low-income families have limited access to computers for schoolwork, and parents are struggling to balance work, distance learning and the stress of the pandemic.

Sadly, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s efforts do not include a great solution to these issues: access to books.

We know that in many communities, there is one book for every 300 students. We also know that reading is good for you — it leads to more reading, expands vocabulary and helps with anxiety. Reading lowers your heart rate and relaxes you physically; it helps you escape reality and eases tension.

Implementing a plan that encourages reading for pleasure would help students and families both academically and emotionally.


We know that most middle-class and affluent homes have an abundance of books for the family. Struggling families should have the same. Books don’t require internet access, cords or software. The battery never runs out.

Any meaningful, impactful plan going forward is remiss if it does not include increasing access to engaging books.

Rebecca Constantino, Los Angeles

The writer is founder and executive director of the literacy advocacy group Access Books.