Q:

Where we live, it has now become the norm that children must know how to read when they enter kindergarten. This seems early and pushy to me. Is this expectation a reasonable one? -- Questioning

A:

More and more kindergartens are expecting children to be able to read some simple stories when they enter school. It is definitely the trend with many preschools teaching early reading skills.

Reading is like walking and talking. Every child will have his or her own timetable. Of course, early instruction will result in some learning to read. At the same time, there are a great number of children who aren't ready to take this step. In some countries, formal reading instruction does not begin until children are 7 years of age. At this age, most children are truly ready.

Expecting all entering kindergartners to read is not reasonable. Some will not have received this instruction in preschool, and others may not even have attended preschool. It is all part of the trend to push academics down to lower and lower grades. Too many kindergartens now have a first-grade curriculum.