At one point, reading, writing and arithmetic were the only 3 courses taught, and illiteracy was rampant, but then in the 20th Century, we moved toward a more robust curriculum. In the teaching experience of many of our parents and grandparents they had one period a day of reading, often a half hour, and a variety of other courses, often including daily classes in arts and physical education. Illiteracy dropped severely during that generation, but at some point we reached a break point where a certain population remained illiterate. Over the past few decades we’ve seen our children’s curriculum going from a robust smorgasbord to more and more reading… from 1 period a day to 2, to 3, to 4, and now 5 periods a day. (out of an 8 period day, now 45 minute periods when they were once 30 minutes. And yet, the illiteracy rate in America is still stagnant, ir perhaps are rising again.
In this picture, the more reading focused courses you give a child, the less they learn in reading. Sort of like the Japanese story about the student wanting to obtain enlightenment, as he increased the hours a day he would meditate, the zen master kept increasing the years it would take to obtain enlightenment.