A new literacy program helps student learning in Islamic schools

By: Siti Cholifah, Teacher at MI Sirojul Huda Islamic School

In September 2018, INOVASI commenced 27 grant-funded pilots, with 18 new grant partners. By March 2019, a further 7 grant pilots began, with Islamic associations Ma’arif NU and Muhammadiyah. This grants initiative is a key part of our approach to expanding and strengthening engagement with Indonesia’s non-governmental education sector. One of these grant partners is Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Ampel (UINSA) Surabaya, which aims to improve teacher professionalism in improving student literacy skills in Pasuruan, an INOVASI partner district in East Java. The pilot works with various stakeholders to develop a culture of literacy in schools. This program will use the ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) approach, which is a contextual approach to improve school independence and commitment to develop literacy programs in schools. In this story, we hear from Siti Cholifah, a teacher at MI Sirojul Huda Islamic school (madrasah).

One of our grade one students, Fizi, often looks down silently, and does not want to hang out with other friends, especially when it’s time for reading and dictating. One time, he even began crying because he could not read.

By the middle of the school semester, Fizi still could not read. Fortunately, around that same time, we heard news from the school principal that a new program would begin, led by INOVASI and UINSA. The activity began in October 2018, and has since provided early grade teachers with guidance and direction for literacy teaching and learning.

What amazing knowledge we have gained! We have not learnt this before. For us, this assistance is very useful in helping to solve the learning problems of our students who are still unable to read and write.

Through the activities of “I Love to Read” on Tuesday and Thursday, “I Can Tell” on Wednesday, and “My Diary” on Saturday, the children increasingly became more enthusiastic about reading and writing. We did the three literacy activities as an opening before the learning activities. In addition to these three activities, we also provided books to aid the reading of children with parents. This program received A positive response from parents and they even bought reading books for their children at home as daily reading material.

To further increase the reading interest of students in class, we also divided students into three reading groups; advanced groups, medium groups, and developing groups. The developing group is the group that we intend to accompany more intensively.

At first, Fizi was in a developing reading group. Now with the literacy pilot program at our madrasah, Fizi is excited when it comes to reading. In fact, he has risen one level to a medium readers group. Lots of changes have occurred. Now he is responsive when I explain, and can understand the questions given. Through show and tell activities, sometimes he asks for some vocabulary that he doesn’t know. In between breaks, he is now very diligent in inviting some of his friends to read books in the reading corner of the class. This can provide motivation and enthusiasm for other friends, especially those who used to be on the same level with him.

Fizi is a child who has experienced big changes, since this activity came to our school. Now he is ranked in the top 10 in his class! With improved literacy for Indonesian children, we can bring positive change and they can become more accomplished.


A new literacy program helps student learning in Islamic schools