Wow, this story really annoys me:
My dad insisted that I NOT learn to read until I started kindergarten (childhood is for being a child), so that's what I did. I started out behind some of the kids whose parents had been teaching them to read, but that did not last long. I loved reading from the beginning, maybe because I never felt forced to do it. I certainly do no think that I have suffered educationally or linguistically as a result of learning to read a little bit later than some.
On top of that, picture books are excellent ways to get kids to enjoy reading. Most people enjoy mastering something that they have to make an effort for, but if they have to struggle too much, they stop enjoying it. Picture books are perfect for kids in this way: they have to make an effort to read, but the pictures help them along, and they feel more accomplished for having figured it out themselves. Chapter books are just be boring and frustrating if they're beyond a child's level, and I would think that would turn them OFF to reading, instead of helping them to enjoy it.
And how many wonderful children's picture books are out there? My life wouldn't have been the same without The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Alexander's Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad, No Good Day, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Dr. Seuss, the Pinkerton books (about the Great Dane), Alphonse the Loch Ness monster, anything by Tomie DePaola (my all-time favorite: Prince Pazzo), so many excellent books that I remember clearly and fondly to this day! I will always love The Snowman, which fueled my creativity when making my own snowmen, and I also enjoyed the beautiful movie they made of it(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeVaj4zkWy0). In fact, I remember attending a Hartford Symphony performance of it, with the orchestra playing the music to accompany the movie. Or what about the beautiful Father Twilight, or Miss Rumphius? I could go on forever. Anyway, I just had to balance the universe and pay tribute to the wonderful world of picture books, which are apparently not being treated with their due respect these days!