The process of reading and the process of writing are inextricably linked. To be able to write well, a student must be able to read well, and vice versa. It is the task of the teacher to ensure that a student becomes equipped with the most basic skills of reading and writing.
All throughout the entire school career of a student, it must be ensured that he or she grasps the foundations of reading and writing to be able to transcend to the higher order skills of interpretation, analysis, critical thinking and critical writing.
When one is determined to not only read or write words and put these words together to form meanings, a student may reach what is known as critical discourse. As defined by the sociologist and linguist Michel Foucault, discourse is the ability to create meaning out of reading and interpreting a work of literature or any work of art.
This becomes an objective for many teachers — a dream to make the most out of the student’s capacity. And that is to relate what one has read or viewed to the realities of life and society.
To be able to write well, one must be able to critically discern symbols and to not merely consider these as mere words but as terms embedded with meanings. For example, if in a story about an eruption of a volcano, evacuated townsfolk would see a rainbow in the sky, what would that rainbow signify? It symbolizes hope.
It is, therefore, the task of the teacher to humbly and patiently encourage students to go beyond reading and writing and to engage them in critical discourse.