ENHANCING IBAN CHILDREN’S EMERGENT LITERACY AND CULTURAL AWARENESS THROUGH TRADITIONAL LITERATURE
Keywords:rhymes, indigenous, traditional literature, emergent literacy, cultural awareness
The study developed a community-based education programme so as to empower Iban parents to preschoolers learning Iban oral tradition and acquiring literacy in the Iban language. Ethnographic case study was employed as the research design of the study, utilizing three core instruments of observations, interviews and parents’ diaries. Three books written in the form of rhymes were used as the reading materials for the community-based education programme. The findings of the study showed that all parents and preschoolers liked the three books and parents perceived that the books were suitable for preschoolers aged five to six years old. The incorporation of attractive pictures and figurative language made the books more acceptable to the preschoolers and their parents. The parents were competent in delivering the programme, they emphasised three types of literacy activities, namely reading aloud, drawing and writing. The programme enhanced the children’s emergent literacy through the interaction of six elements in decoding and comprehension; these included oral language, phonemic awareness, concept of print, letter-sound association, analogy, and a way to think about words. It also enhanced preschoolers’ interest in augury and myth but their awareness of the oral tradition was not prominent in the findings.