What is your perception regarding the “readiness” debate as it relates to early childhood education? Should early childhood education be mostly play oriented? Is direct instruction appropriate? If so when and how much?
This question is a very important one. Early childhood experiences provide the basic foundation or groundwork for getting ready to read. Language (appreciation of the sounds of spoken words), vocabulary (what words mean), and listening to stories and hearing about the world around are all key elements to getting ready to read. Learning about the sounds and letters of the alphabet, about words and their meaning and the world are all important and can and should be part of a child's early childhood experiences and education. Clearly, any experience should be provided in an age appropriate manne — each of the elements I noted above can be provided effectively in an enjoyable and fun manner.
— Dr. Sally Shaywitz