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One quiet afternoon recently as I was pondering an article advocating early reading instruction, I could hear my children playing hide-and-seek. They were shouting, "Ready or not you shall be caught!" I could not help drawing an analogy between the meaning of their childish rhyme and my feeling toward the growing tempo and insistence of demands to plunge preschool children indiscriminately into formalized reading activities. Unconsciously I paraphrased the rhyme, "Ready or not you SHALL be TAUGHT!" It had an ominous connotation smacking of pursuit, capture, and force and I began considering the problem in earnest.

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