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Writing Workshop Improves Student Literacy

Writing Workshop Improves Student Literacy
Puji showing the results of her work. First, the mind map she made; second, her freewriting based on the results of a mind map; and third, the edited and improved version of her writing.

BANTAENG, SOUTH SULAWESI – SDN 7 Letta has developed a literacy movement for grades IV, V, and VI called bengkel menulis (writing workshop). This training on writing is for students in the higher grades and the activity is held at the school once every two weeks, with each activity lasting two hours.

To improve the children's literacy, the teachers at SDN Letta use strategies of brainstorming and creating mind maps. One of the students who participated in these activities is Sri Puji Lestari, a grade VI student, who learned how to write about gardening. As a way of brainstorming, she wrote down ideas related to gardening randomly.

After she had finished writing these ideas down, her teacher, Hasnawiyah, asked her to group the ideas into general categories. Soil and water went into the category of 'land', fruits and vegetables in the category of 'plants', and so on. The categories were set out as a mind map. She wrote the word "gardening" in big letters in the middle of the paper, circled it, and then drew arrows pointing to various categories: plants, soil, fertilizer, tools, etc.

The teacher then guided the students to determine which of the categories was the most suitable to be developed into the first paragraph. Puji developed the 'land' category and wrote the following: "My grandfather had land next to the house. It was a very wide field. I used to go there with him".

For the second paragraph she chose tools, and she wrote: "My grandfather used to take a spade and sickle. He used the spade to dig the soil or plant crops".

All the categories were developed into paragraphs. The text was still just a draft and needed to be corrected by the teacher who acted as an editor correcting the grammar used, adding a few missing words, and giving advice on developing some of the sentences.

Based on the teacher's edits, the students revised their writing to make it more organized and increase the length. The writing process started with brainstorming, continued with pre-writing, then producing a draft, and finally pulling it all together. At the end Puji made a cover with picture on a gardening theme that she had drawn. (Ajb) 

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