What are you leading?
MyReaders’ mission is to empower children, through communities, by providing structured and sustainable reading programmes. MYReaders aims to help the many illiterate students in our country learn to read in English using a structured, research-based programme. We work to empower teachers, parents and on-the-ground movers through providing a comprehensive and effective literacy toolkit, training and long term support, and workshops for parents and teachers. MyReaders has reached up to 600 students in 21 schools all around Malaysia, with an impact of 7 years of reading growth on average.
How did your experiences as a fellow inspire or prepare you for what you’re doing now?
The Fellowship provided inspiration for MyReaders because of the founders’ experiences teaching students who were illiterate. They found out that literacy programs in schools were not effective in closing the gap. Several factors contributed to this, including books often being unaffordable for low socioeconomic families, un-relatable context of these books because they come from overseas, high usage of rote learning for reading programs in school, and lack of training for teachers in teaching illiterate students. To combat these issues we have created our own texts which are set in the Malaysia context and free to schools as part of our reading programs. We have also developed a comprehensive reading program and curriculum program based on teaching phonics. We deliver our program directly to students, and we also train teachers and other volunteers in our approach, so that they are able to deliver it too.
The Teach For Malaysia initiative program also helped to kickstart MyReaders. All 4 founders were exposed to the problem in their individual classrooms and motivated to develop a solution. We each ran literacy initiatives in our schools, and through Teach For Malaysia were able to come together to start up MyReaders.
The next steps for MyReaders is to continue to develop our program and impact measurement. We also plan to digitize our assessments and to create audiobooks. Our long term aspiration is to scale our program to other countries in south east Asia.