Address illiteracy in English first, says MYReaders

PETALING JAYA: For community-based initiatives like MYReaders, it all began from an awareness about the level of literacy among youths, especially in underprivileged communities.

“I was volunteering at a camp for youths. As I handed out forms to be filled, I realised that some were he­sitating.

“They had to refer to their MyKad to write their name and IC number. Then it dawned on me. It’s not just English proficiency but an issue of illiteracy which needs to be addressed too,” said MYReaders representative Alex Lim.

MYReaders is a non-profit orga­ni­sation set up in 2015 to help students learn to read in English using a structured, research-based programme.

“With increased literacy, we can really see a leap in students’ self-esteem and confidence to learn English, and this is when their proficiency will start to really improve,” said Lim.

He said one of the best remedial steps he had tried was to provide students with one-on-one support through mentoring.

“In a group setting, they will just become more withdrawn. The best thing for them is peer tutoring.

“Our vision is that one day all students should be able to read proficiently,” he said, adding that the SPM and national syllabus required students to be able to demonstrate a high level of reading comprehension.

The Star ran a story yesterday about the declining standard of English among Malaysians.

When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak rolled out Budget 2016, he noted the importance of the language in facing global competition and announced two initiatives – the Dual Language Pro­gramme (DLP) and Highly Immer­sive Programme (HIP).

The DLP will see subjects like Mathematics and Science being taught in English while HIP is aimed at strengthening English by increa­sing usage hours outside the classroom.

English , Alex Lim