Reading has been long known as integral part of our language learning. However, many of us associate reading (especially books) with academic tasks. To read a book means someone is working on homework or taking a reading comprehension test.
Yet, reading does not have to be that intimidating, according to Sekar Ayu Adhaningrum of Sekolah Kembang. “Reading must be integrated in our children’s life in ways that are different from the past,” she was speaking as the guest speaker at Sampoerna University’s Educators Sharing Network (ESN) event titled “Membaca Bermakna” (Meaningful Reading) on October 18th, 2019.
The educator spoke further: “To instill the love of reading in children from early years, teachers can use children books as reading materials in classes. And a teacher can start a simple discussion with students around a book, such as the cover, illustrations, etc.”
They can choose a book that fits a certain theme or topic. Another way to teach is to pick a given children book as a topic on a certain day. Students can learn by reading the book along the way and learn other relevant topics as well.
To avoid the same past mistake, students are not obliged to answer a set of questions to find out the level of their comprehension of a certain book. Instead, they are given chances to discuss and respond to their teacher’s simple questions about the book. Students are also encouraged to read every day. At school they have to spend about 40 minutes to focus on reading a book.
This way, students will be less likely to see reading as a boring activity, Sekar added. It is because literacy skills are not only about comprehension, but also about identification, interpretation, creation, and use of various texts in different contexts as defined by UNESCO.
Sekar also proposed a different, more flexible approach to reading. “Both students and teachers should be empowered. Teachers have enough room to design and modify the learning direction and method if necessary. This allows students to adopt the similar attitude towards reading activities,” Sekar told.
For 4th to 6th graders, children novels such as “Wonder” are used as learning materials. However, when students find them too difficult to read, Sekar said it is totally fine to select easier reading materials. “If a children novel is too complex for sixth graders for example, it is okay for a teacher to provide books with a lot of illustration which are mostly published for younger students.”
Sekar believes that no students hate reading. “It’s just because they haven’t found the books they really like to read,” she convinced the participants who are teachers and educators working in a number of schools in Jakarta.
The event was held by Educators Sharing Network (ESN) whose mission is to improve literacy in Indonesia. ESN itself is an initiative launched by the Faculty of Education (FoE) at Sampoerna University.
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