Nancy Bailey describes one of the worst ideas that is current in the world of corporate-style reform: Forcing little children to read at a very young age, as early as kindergarten or first grade, which turns reading into a chore, not a joy.

Then, if they have not met arbitrary standards in third grade, shaming them by holding them back.

This is a child-hostile idea that got started in Florida, where so many bad ideas have begun. It did wonders for fourth grade reading scores, because the kids with the lowest scores flunked.

But it is a truly dumb idea because it forces reading on children before they are ready and it does not make children better readers. Whether children begin to read at age 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 doesn’t matter. What matters is that they learn that reading is a wonderful skill to master and that it opens worlds of enchantment and knowledge. By the time they are 10 or 11, no one remembers when they first began to read. Little children are not global competitors. They are children.