I am such a fan of Ruth Beechick. I have the three booklet set of The Three Rs: A Home Start in Reading, An Easy Start in Arithmetic, and A Strong Start in Language. (Thanks, Christie for letting me borrow before buying!)
These are brief but right on point. I'd really encourage all homeschooling mamas to read these prior to the start of preschool.
I wanted to share a snippet from the booklet about reading:
"It is true that some children can learn to read remarkably early. But the fact that they can does not necessarily mean they should. Should is another question. One school district set up an experiment to help decide this question. Some kindergartners in the district received extensive instruction in reading. Others spent the same amount of time learning science. [...] ... no formal lessons in reading were held.
And what did the school district learn? By third grade the "science" children were far ahead of the "reading" children in their reading scores. The reason? Their vocabularies and thinking skills were more advanced. They could read on more topics and understand higher level materials.
The reading children, by starting earlier, used up a lot of learning time on the skills of reading, while the "science" children spent the time learning real stuff. And when they did begin reading, they were older and knew more and learned in a fraction of the time that the others took."
I'd better stop there, or I'll just copy the whole booklet. But wow.
I think there are plenty of 4 and 5yos out there who are ready and interested in learning how to read. There's also probably a good chunk of them who are subjected to reading lessons before they're ready. Early lessons may not accomplish much with those kids (except maybe sucking the life out of them and making them loathe reading).
Of course I want my children to be strong readers. I just hope that when the time comes, I have the sense to remember to slow it down, and make sure they are really ready. It's not about me.