IRT TiredX2: In my experience (as an early elementary teacher) there is a wide range of experiences for 5 year olds which could all qualify as "normal." In some areas, 5 year olds are in kindergarten already, while in other places, parents wait until closer to 6 to send their children. In some kindergartens, there is a stricter sense that children should be reading at a certain "level" by the time they exit the grade, while other kindergartens tend to expose children to literature, letters, etc. but not hold to specific standards or objectives about reading. Much depends on whether the school is public or private, and which state the school is in if it is public. I have seen very academic kindergarten programs in which almost all of the kids can read at the end of the year. The problem is that for those who were not yet developmentally ready, what was the sacrifice? I have seen kindergarten programs that did not expect any reading, but half of the students were reading on their own anyway. I have lost track of my point, but I guess what I'm trying to get at is that most of these children grow up to be readers, even given the variety of methods and times for introducing the skill. This is not the same as saying, "Anything works" but rather that many different approaches can work.