We're not sure that learning to read at age four gives you that much of an advantage over a child who learned to read at age six, but many parents agree that it's never to early to love to read. However, parents who send their kids to the city's private schools are being told that learning to read too young can be "stultifying," and many schools are choosing to delay formalized reading instruction until the first grade. Someone get the Tiger Mom on these hippie principals!
Pediatric Neuropsychologist Dr. Stephen Sands told the Times, “Being able to decode words is not a direct line to heightened I.Q. Reading is part of academic achievement, but intelligence is part of a different dynamic.” But as one parent argued, "I don’t think any child should ever be told that they should wait to learn, anymore than a child should be placed in an environment where the pace is too quick for them." And wouldn't being stuck sounding out letter pairings when you're already whizzing through Dr. Seuss be an even more stultifying experience?
Calhoun School's Steve Nelson says that sometimes reading too well can be a problem. He said that if a child was able to read James Joyce “that would probably be a liability in our admissions decision.” Probably because we can't even make sense of Joyce, and there's no way we're going to let a four year old show us up.