Is the Overemphasis On Foundational Reading Skills Unhealthy For Children?

There is often much discussion amongst those in educational circles about providing their educational material. Of course, different teachers will have different teaching styles – that is something that comes with the differences in personality and needs of the students.

One particular topic of note has to do with how certain parts of a subject are presented and the focus placed on them. In other words, where does one put the emphasis when presenting the various subtopics of a subject? There are many different routes to take, such as the Bottom-Up Theory for teaching reading.

In this particular case, we’ll be discussing the vital difference between a focused and more broad style of educating younger grades in their various reading skills.

Where the Argument Stems From

The idea is that offering children in their foundational phases a more focused education in their foundational skills will allow them to be more ready and better prepared for what the later grades have in store for them.

Think of it this way – if you prioritize feeding a child a diet that is mainly calcium-based for the first eight years of their life, that child will have excellent bone and tooth strength at that young age. Most people would agree that this is a good thing, right?

And Is This Focus a Good Thing?

The problem with this argument is that it doesn’t accomplish the real goal and fools you into believing that you have done something healthy for the child. 

In actuality, you have provided the child an almost unnecessary boost to their bone strength while not paying attention to other aspects of their health – you have only paid attention to one element while other elements have been left to deteriorate.

Just like you have only allowed the child’s bones and teeth to remain strong and healthy, you have solely focused on developing their foundational reading skills. This means that their other language skills are not as developed and end up lacking in later grades.

The Importance Of the Place Of Foundational Reading

You might be hard-pressed to find an educator who does not think that foundational skills are essential and necessary. However, don’t make a mistake and think they are more important than other aspects of developing language and reading skills.

This means that you should provide these foundational skills to a roughly equal standard with other reading skills, such as oral fluency, comprehension, or even writing. Today, there are many different ways you can go about helping young students develop their reading skills, and it’s never been easier. You could use technology to provide a blended environment, use different apps, or even gamify the experience to make it more engaging.

Concluding Thoughts

Overemphasizing one aspect of a subject to others’ detriment or negligence is very rarely a good idea. Sure, it may provide the student a particular proficiency in one specific area, but it deprives them of more general and more helpful ability in the subject as a whole.

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