Bringing reading to life and life to reading

Being a lover of literature, and recognizing its role in on-going language development and enrichment, I thought again about what exactly makes it such a powerful art form. Literature inevitably speaks subtly different meanings to different people. Two readers are unlikely to react identically to any given text. This means that each learner’s interpretation is valid. It also means that a wealth of meaningful interactive discussion is likely to ensue since each person’s perception is different. With students all having a different interpretation and needing to justify their thinking, a genuine exchange of ideas can take place in the classroom.

However, some students can be reluctant to voice their opinions, so how best to encourage the less vocal ones to take more risks and share their thoughts with others, whilst also being open to other’s ideas, and making relevant connections with their own lives? In doing so, one would hope that they learn more about themselves in addition to improving their communicative competence and cultural awareness, especially as the literary works we explore deal with issues and experiences that affect all human beings. Literature does not trivialize or “talk down”. It is about important things that mattered to the author when he wrote them.

It will be interesting for those of us in DP Literature to delve further into the magical process of literature whereby symbols on a page transmit such powerful thoughts and feelings to others.