With the aim of enabling primary school students to further improve their reading and learning skills, Projek BacaBaca is actively recruiting volunteers for its third phase, which commenced in April 2023. Targeting students aged 6 to 9 years old from underserved communities across Malaysia, the project has till date made a positive difference in the lives of 150 children in terms of tackling the issue of learning poverty.
Coined by the World Bank in 2019, learning poverty is a term referring to children who cannot read a simple paragraph by the age of 10. It is based on the notion that every child of school-going age should be enrolled in school and able to read an age-appropriate or grade-level text by the time they turn 10.
Since 2021, the School of Education at Taylor’s University has been championing Projek BacaBaca - an initiative that pairs volunteers referred to as ‘reading coaches’ with primary school students from B40 and underserved communities who are affected by learning poverty and the COVID-19 learning gap, in order to improve their reading.
Projek BacaBaca has been ongoing with the steady support of Mah Sing Foundation and Twinkl, impacting children in six communities over the past two years across PPR Seri Alam, Kota Belud, Sungai Way New Village, SJK (T) Ladang Batu Ampat, SJK (T) Pusat Telok Datok, and SJK (T) Seaport. This year will witness the project bringing SK Bandar Sunway under its wings.
Through the project, effective approaches to address the literacy gaps faced by 6 to 9 year old students in targeted areas were incorporated to pave the way for their literary development in both English and Bahasa Melayu.
Projek BacaBaca involves three reading levels: emerging, developing, and securing. A preliminary diagnostic test takes place to assess a child’s reading level. The philosophy behind the programme, ‘learning to read, reading to learn’ aims to get children to read and comprehend well and apply this to other school subjects such as mathematics and science, so they are not left behind.