Pak Otnel, a teacher at SDN 004 Mentarang Hulu, Malinau Regency, is highly concerned about the literacy skills of his students. In his leisure time, he usually invites children from his neighbourhood, located not far from the school, to engage in literacy learning while playing outdoors.

The riverside has always been Pak Otnel’s favorite spot in Lung Simau Village. With its refreshing ambiance amidst nature, this area is situated quite close to his residence. Surrounded by a pile of children’s reading books he has brought, he finds it pleasing to read storybooks to his students.

Pak Otnel commonly selects reading books about the environment or specific activities to pique children’s interest while enhancing their ability to comprehend the points presented in the books. For example, a book titled Memancing by Ibu Ratna has entertained the children with insight into a certain activity carried out by people around them, i.e., fishing.



“Children absolutely love it when I read storybooks to them. They gather around and rejoice, and then we learn while playing. Children are the assets of the future. Through various positive activities, I hope every child of Lung Simau Village will grow up as an intelligent person capable of developing their region in the future.”

Pak Otnel is the beneficiary of the Remote Area Program in Malinau Regency facilitated by INOVASI (Australia-Indonesia Partnership Program) in collaboration with the Malinau Education Office. Accordingly, it is expected that he is adept at selecting and reading appropriate reading books that capture children’s imagination.

As a teacher in a remote area, Pak Otnel suggested that children’s literacy skills in his school were indicated to be quite low. He assumed that the contributing factors lay in the limited studying time in school and children’s poor reading habits at home.

To address this issue, Pak Otnel initiated an extracurricular activity of literacy. It was fulfilling for him when children and their parents demonstrated positive responses. Pak Otnel usually invites children to study by the riverside or beneath the cooling and refreshing shade of trees. There are around 8 to 15 children who participate in this literacy activity. The activity is run in the afternoons unless the weather is bad or Pak Otnel has something else to do.

Pak Otnel is a teacher of the contract-based government employees (PPPK) system, who is equipped with training in reading diagnostic assessment and the five stages of reading. Supported by INOVASI, he has been provided with 17 titles of children’s reading books from North Kalimantan, amounting to approximately 54 copies, as well as around 15 copies of leveled reading books published by Yayasan Literasi Anak Indonesia (YLAI). This initiative aims to offer optimal support for enhancing literacy programs for children residing in remote areas.

According to Pak Otnel, the current obstacle hindering the improvement of children’s literacy skills in remote areas is the scarcity of reading books. Despite contributions from various parties, such as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, INOVASI, and many more, it is better to add to the list of reading books to prevent children from succumbing to boredom.

Furthermore, Pak Otnel anticipates more training opportunities for teachers as he has received. He believes that diversified training sessions would enrich teachers’ insights and motivation, further empowering them to proactively enhance literacy skills among children in remote areas.