The debate about which is more important, reading fluency or grammar accuracy, is a long standing one. Such is a chicken or the egg problem, which unfortunately, Critical Thinking Mathematics will not help.
Traditional educators would argue that a child develops its ability to form grammatically correct sentences by imparting technical knowledge such as the recognition and usage of verbs, nouns, punctuations and tenses. On the other side of the fence, the liberal educators would stand by their pedagogy that fluency would help with a child’s understanding of meaning and context.
However, it is truly the case that one method is more superior than another? According a research in cognitive psychology, the brain is divided into different areas. The area that focuses on grammatical processing is known as the Broca’s area, a small part of the left frontal lobe. Its general function includes language comprehension, action recognition and production, and speech-associated gestures, such as using sign languages.
Learning language fluency, however, triggers the whole frontal lobe, which has also been linked to executive functions, such as attentional control, working memory, reasoning and problem-solving.
So, which is truly more important? Perhaps there isn’t a strictly correct answer. Perhaps both arguments are correct. Non-native learners would benefit more with the study of grammar as it taps on a smaller part of the brain. This would progress towards a fuller understanding and comprehension of the language as they develop larger parts of the frontal lobe later. Native learners, on the other hand, benefit by first understanding context and meaning as these help them form meaningful relationships with others, which also develops the self-identity of the child. They would then work towards refining their understanding of the language through the study of grammar. Either way, both go hand-in-hand and are equally critical to the study of a language.
On a side note, scientists have researched and determined that the chicken did come first. Mindblown!