Literacy for social inclusion – the right to read for all children

SIRI WACANA KITA BIL.16/2016

Tarikh: 9 November 2016 (Rabu)
Masa: 10.30 pagi - 12.30 tgh
Tempat: Bilik Mesyuarat KITA, Aras 4, Bangunan Pentadbiran Kolej Keris Mas, UKM, Bangi

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ABSTRACT 
Humans were never born to read, yet the ability to read has become a critical skill to lead a functional life in modern society. The UNESCO-led ‘Education for All’ movement, launched in 1990, is a global commitment (including Malaysia) to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults. United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2015 extends this ‘education for all’ principle with its ‘no one to be left behind’ maxim. All children have a right to quality education that provides them with literacy and/or vocational skills so as to be skilled or professional human capital in the future. However, children with learning difficulties (LD) often struggle to learn to read due to the differences in brain neurology. In addition, children of indigenous people of Malaysia historically associated with isolation and remoteness also often struggle to learn to read due to a variety of factors, in particular, access to formal education. The Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 has particularly identified Orang Asli children in Peninsular Malaysia and Penan children in Sarawak as communities requiring special attention in the government’s aspiration to achieve equitable education for all. Children with LDs and struggling readers learn best tthrough multi-sensory activities. This paper presents the Literacy for Social Inclusion – The Right to Read for All Children program, an innovative, highly structured, cumulative and multisensorial reading program which uses letter sounds (phonics), developed by the Dyslexia Association of Sarawak (DASwk). This program, called SMARTER*phonics, has helped struggling and poor readers since 2011. This paper will present this SMARTER*phonics program through the various projects conducted by DASwk, such as the Buddy-readwith-me project and one-week reading camps. Bottle caps were used as manipulative aids to assist decoding and encoding skills. Pre-, progressive and post-tests were done to obtain measures of reading, spelling and reading comprehension ability. The ability to read and spell consonantvowel-consonant (CVC) and sight words improved significantly at the end of the one-week programme. The results of the programme indicate that such a programme with the use of the manipulative aid are recommended for other struggling readers.

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