The fundamental purpose of literacy is to prepare children to face the challenges of the 21st century, where they are expected to integrate literacy skills, have broad knowledge, possess good character, and master technology. To facilitate this goal, Yayasan Pohon Sagoe Maluku organized writing and reading-aloud classes in conjunction with the National Children’s Day celebration in 2022. Under the theme “Literacy Safeguards and Shapes Good Character,” the Pohon Sagoe Maluku Foundation aimed to encourage children to rediscover the joy of reading books. Due to the use of electronic devices, combined with limited parental supervision-which should be the top authority controlling children’s screen time-good habits, like reading and writing, have been lost.
Children are valued highly by Yayasan Pohon Sagoe. This aligns with the vision and mission of Yayasan Pohon Sagoe, which is to establish a safe and positive learning environment for children and youth to grow according to their potential, faith in the Almighty, and the values of local wisdom from Maluku, enabling them to face global challenges.
In this online class, we began by asking a big question: why should we read? The discussion continued with further questions such as what the consequences are if we don’t enjoy reading, and what the benefits and advantages are for those who enjoy it. Using simple language, images, and short writing exercises, the material presented encouraged children to demonstrate their ability to write short stories. There were challenges in this class, since some of the children had never written before.
A number of stories were read to the children from the Literacy Cloud website during the reading-aloud class. The children were then requested to provide their opinions about the story: its characters, plot, and thoughts about the main character.
Reading aloud offers a range of benefits for children, according to Roosie Setiawan, an advocate for reading aloud in Indonesia. By reading with children, they develop proficiency as readers, become more acquainted with books, and cherish their reading activities. Reading aloud helps children develop a love for reading without coercion or pressure. The cultivation of a reading-friendly atmosphere in Indonesia, particularly Maluku, is crucial to achieving significant results.
It was discovered that children also enjoy reading in this writing class. As a result of lack of access to library collections, they are unwilling to engage in this beneficial activity. It is easier for them to access electronic devices compared to books, as they are much more readily available and accessible.
Parental involvement is hoped to be catalyzed through this class. Reading cannot be enforced through commands or punishment. Parents should invest in reading and writing as long-term investments for their children, and set a good example as role models.