This US based research examines the move towards teaching reading from age five in the States and how it is harming learning, looking at the difference between play based learning and formal learning
“No research documents long-term gains from learning to read in kindergarten.
Research shows greater gains from play-based programs than from preschools and kindergartens with a more academic focus.
Children learn through playful, hands on experiences with materials, the natural world, and engaging, caring adults.
Active, play-based experiences in language rich environments help children develop their ideas about symbols, oral language and the printed word — all vital components of reading.
In play-based kindergartens and preschools, teachers intentionally design language and literacy experiences which help prepare children to become fluent readers.
We are setting unrealistic reading goals and frequently using inappropriate methods to accomplish them.”
Read it in full: Reading instruction in kindergarten. Little to gain, much to lose (Defending the Early Years)