In this chapter we address whether academic skill acquisition is important during preschool and kindergarten. Our primary focus is on reading-related skills, given the scope of evidence in this area. The question and its answer are complicated by the fact that the question is, in reality, multi-faceted, with at least two main elements. The fi rst element is whether the skills children develop early in their educational experiences are important for their later development. The second element is whether focused instruction or early intervention that targets these skills changes the developmental course of children’s outcomes. Other aspects of this multi-faceted issue involve questions about the outcomes, the timing of those outcomes, and on what basis something is declared important. With these caveats in mind, the answer to the fi rst main element of the question is a clear and unequivocal “yes.” The answer to the second main element of the question is somewhat less clear but is most likely also “yes.” As with many seemingly simple questions, the reality involves nuance, contextualization, and the fact that for some parts of the answer, there is simply too little evidence at present on which to base a strong conclusion. In the sections below, we summarize the evidence in support of these conclusions, provide some context for why stronger answers are not possible at this time, and outline how others might arrive – incorrectly, we believe – at diff erent conclusions.