Sometimes you just need to do it yourself to know that something that is seemingly impossible actually works. This was my impression when I received some images that Ustadzah Risa and Ustadzah Lu’il posted in a whatsapp group of parents. Risa and Lu’il (to use their nicknames only), are Adzra’s teachers at 2 C at SDIT At-Taqwa, Babadan Mukti, Surabaya.

When I talked to Ustadzah Khoyr, the school principal, whether the school would be interested in listening to me talk about best practices in literacy program at Australian schools, she welcomed me warmly. Ust. Khoyr is not a new person to me. She was Ganta’s teacher 15 years ago, when Ganta was still in Kindergarten at TK Al-Hikmah Kebraon, Surabaya.

I positioned myself as a parent, who happens to know a bit about theories and practices related to literacy. Having done a research on community literacy and been a volunteer at Moreland Primary School, I tried to find any way possible to contribute to my kid’s new school. To give hope to the Indonesian education, if you want to call it that way. This may sound cliche, but I have confidence that I know what works and what may not work.

Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) has so far been by favourite. I know it works because it’s been done successfully for many many years in developed countries. Just go google to make yourself convinced. More importantly, I believe it’s doable because I’ve done it with Ganta and Adzra. I can see throughout the years (believe me, it takes a whole lot of patience and perseverance!) what changes and progress have happened to them (and me, too!). Not to mention that my husband is now (and has always been) a big supporter of literacy time.

When I shared about SSR with the school teachers last Saturday, I was surprised by the enthusiasm and success stories that some teachers shared. It turned out that At-Taqwa had had a similar program before. The so-called Moco Sareng Sareng (MSS; I like the term!) sounds parallel to SSR, although a close observation of how it was conducted was not really made. Even so, the teacher said that it left a long-lasting effect to the students at the time MSS was carried out.

There were also some other shared classroom experiences, such as Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) and Read-Write. Some teachers also raised concerns like whether students will benefit from the textbooks based on Kurikulum 2013 and how to connect home and school environment. I have written some posts on these issues in this blog. For example, Literacraft can be an answer to challenges in the implementation of Kurikulum 2013.

I can sense that the academic environment at At-Taqwa has great potential for literacy programs to develop. Its library, young and energetic teachers and staff, sufficient infrastructure, and for sure a good leadership. All are characteristics of a literacy-oriented school. And class 2C did not want to wait too long to start its reading program. The two teachers decided to use some amount of time remaining after the Qur’anic reading time to do free voluntary reading. From Adzra, I knew that the kids were taken to library at recess time to pick any books they liked. They were then given time to read the book of their choice after the Qur’anic reading time. What a smart move!

It was even a great thing to hear when the teacher said that some students could finish 2 books at one sitting. Subhanallah! I can already sense amazing things happening in this class (and the whole school, not for long!)

Reading record
Reading record
Good readers are as busy as bees

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Looking at the above pictures and seeing our children lost in their books, there’s no reason for us parents not to believe that kids are avid readers in the making. The key is with us. We can’t stop at just providing books and giving them space. We need to do what we are supposed to do, to become role models, to make ourselves good readers too.

Thank you Ustadzah Risa and Ustadzah Lu’il, for making it happen!

Photos courtesy of 2 C teachers.