Dear Dr. Ada:
My 4-year-old son knows how to read easy picture books and likes to take one of his books to preschool to read to his friends. His teacher told me I should discourage him from doing that because it’s important for him to participate in physical and the art and music activities which the program provides and leave academics for grade school.
What should I do?
This teacher seems to have a dated attitude. Years ago it was assumed that preschool children were too young to develop literacy skills, and that early reading development could be harmful and therefore should be left for school.
However, our latest understanding is that most children begin to acquire literacy skills in their preschool years and that it is recommended to stimulate and encourage that development from an early age.
Explain to your child’s teacher that your son gains much social and emotional confidence from sharing his reading ability with his friends, and that this can encourage also their development. Alternatively, you could transfer your child to a more academically oriented program.
Learn more about how to nurture early reading skills in my book, The Secret of Natural Readers: How Preschool Children Learn to Read available on Amazon.