Can Learning to Read Too Young Backfire?

By Dianna Dilworth 

Many studies have pointed to the benefits of reading to children from birth, but can teaching kids to read too early backfire?

According to a new report from Defending the Early Years and Alliance for Childhood, requiring kindergarteners to read as part of the Common Core State Standards curriculum requirement may not be the most productive way to raise young readers. The report titled “Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose,” claims that pressuring kids to read too early can cause stress and anxiety around reading.

Instead, the study advocates for a more play based curriculum for kindergartners so that they can learn language orally and be more prepared to read print books at a later age. Check it out: “Many children are not developmentally ready to read in kindergarten. In addition, the pressure of implementing the standards leads many kindergarten teachers to resort to inappropriate didactic methods combined with frequent testing. Teacher-led instruction in kindergartens has almost entirely replaced the active, play-based, experiential learning that we know children need from decades of research in cognitive and developmental psychology and neuroscience.”