Literacy – the ability to read and write -. has an important role in any aspects of life, either in dealing with personal and social life. Basic literacy has become a great concern of global and national education goals. As Article 1 of The World Declaration on Education for All (Inter-Agency Commission, 1990 as cited in Singh, 2003: 1) reaffinned the global community’s commitment to provide an education where:
“Every person – child, youth, adult – shall be able to benefit from educational opportunities designed to meet their learning needs. These needs comprise both essential learning tools (such as literacy, oral expiession, numeracy, and problem solving) and the basic learning content (such as knowledge. skills, values, and attitudes) required by human beings to be able to survive, to develop their full capacities, to live, to make informed decisions, and to continue karning The scope of basic learning needs and how they should meet be varies with individual countries and culture& and ineritably, changes with the passage tinie”
In Indonesia itself, literacy has become a great concern in educational goal. It is stated in Government Policy about Curriculum Based Competence (CBC), the main goals of basic education that held in Sekolab Dasar (SD) or Madrasah Jbtidaiyah ‘MJ) are to develop children’s basic ability in reading, writing and counting, to develop their competence in solving problems and also to develop logical, critical, and creative thinking. In line with this. CBC considers three main principles that should be developed in teaching-learning process, such as,
developing life-skills, concerning life-long education, and putting learners as the central of education.
Literacy in this research refers to the basic literacy as mentioned in Curriculum 2002 that. is the ability to read, write and count. While for the particular puipose of this study literacy is defined as the ability of the students to develop their reading and writing skills in regards to the life skills development, by putting them as the active participant of the education with the principle of life long education. In this case, life long education refers to the students’ awareness in developing their ability through learning by themselves whether in or out of the classroom.
Some scholars have proposed their interpretations about literacy. Goddard (1974) stated that literacy is not merely the ability of reading and writing but also involving their intellectual and emotional quotient. This view also supported by Hudelson (1994:129-130) who stated that a literate child is the one who is not only able to read and write but is also able to select what to read as well as aware of the reason to communicate his ideas in writteu Eu line to this, Pellegrini and Galda (1998) defined literacy as the ability to communicate through and about print.
The importance of literacy development has been a great concern of educational goal all over the world In Ausiralia particularly in Victoria, literacy education is implemented in accordance to the “Early Years Literacy Program” This program is based on the principle that effective teaching and learning in the classroom have an important role in the process of Literacy education (Raban and
Essex, 2002:221 as cited by Cahyono, 2003:223). The “Early Years Literacy Program” has been considered a great success (Raban and Essex, 2002:228 in Cahyono, 2003:223). It has affected the way children learn literacy in their early years at schools (Cahyono, 2003:223). The program applied “tw&-hour literacy block” in piimaiy schools as the key element The two hours were allocated daily for structured literacy teaching, such as exposing students with reading and writing activities. Students were involved to read various kinds of reading materials related to children’s needs at the same time they were imposed to write their concrete experience in diaries writing.
Literacy is not only the concern of formal institution such as schools but also informal institutions’ of education such as local organizations. In Nigeria, informal institution initiated to support literacy through language program by making relevant and interesting reading materials accessible to community members come from local organization. Onukaogti (1999 as cited by Singh, 2003- 4) shared that Nigerian grassroots initiative in which reading clubs were conducted by a local organization called The Centre of Excellence for Literacy and Literacy Education (CELLE). It was aimed at not only to foster language skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, but to provide opportunities for critical thinking, questioning, and building self-esteem through group-based reading-writing activities.