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Encouraging children’s literacy skills through creative activities

11th June, 2019

ASIDE FROM school teachers, parental guidance in introducing the concept of early literacy in fun ways is important. Early literacy skills are critical as it determines how well children learn reading and writing skills as better reading and writing skills help improve their academic achievement.

In regard to that, a senior lecturer of Universiti Malaya, Dr Mohd Nazri Rahman has taken the initiative to explore the uniqueness of Sabah’s traditional and cultural art by developing the Tuninipot Literacy-Creative Module for Children in Sabah.

This program (module) is a collaboration of the Universiti Malaya Community and Sustainability Center (UMCares) with the Department of National Unity and Integration (Sabah Branch); and the Institute of Teacher Education, Kent Campus, Tuaran.

Nazri further explained explained that the Tuninipot Module highlights the concept of Early Literacy through the traditional art of the Orang Asli community in Sabah.

Through this module, the Early Literacy skills have applied the basic techniques of early literacy teaching, which is the Sound-Word Combination Method (Ishak Haron, 2003) that is combined with the Basic Child Reading Method (Mohd Nazri Abdul Rahman, 2014).

“This module also provides children with the opportunity to learn the arts and culture of the Sabahans in an exciting and encouraging learning environment for children to read and write. This module highlights the tradition and culture of the community as a form of formal learning,” he said.

He added that through the implementation of this module, the early learning of literally does not only apply for teachers in school, but also involves parents’ commitment to teach their children to read at home.

Therefore, a workshop – ‘Teaching Children to Read Efficinetly’ – was held recently at Tadika Perpaduan Kampung Lohan, Kundasang, to help parents improve their knowledge in guiding children to read, write, and calculate at home.

Through this workshop, parents were exposed to the technique of teaching children reading through creative reading cards that can be practiced at home by parents.

What interesting was that the workshop involved of parents with their respective children which emphasised the techniques to guide children to read, write, and calculate through some fun activities in the Tuninipot Literacy-Creative Module.

Nazri also stated that the Tuninipot Module also features alphabets in the forms of creative designs based on the arts and culture of the Sabah community.

“This module also provides a new dimension in the relationship between parents, communities, and kindergarten schools in efforts to improve the children’s quality of education.

“Today, not many of us know and understand the traditional art and culture of the Sabahans. Thus, through this module, children have the opportunity to learn and experience to form alphabets using coconut leaves or painting, draw and design alphabet based on the traditional art and culture of the Sabah community.”

For Noor Baidareh Julubin, the implementation of the programme also provided new perspectives on early childhood education where the basic skills of the traditional arts and culture of Sabah society are combined with the basic skills of readers and writers.

“Even the elements of Sabah’s creativity such as weaving of coconut leaves and cinnamon, traditional songs, and folklore have developed the main source of the module.

“This has instantly brought back the tradition and culture of the Sabah community and thereby preserves the nation’s culture and identity among the younger generation today,” said the the teacher from Tadika Perpaduan Kampung Lohan.

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