Children sit in a circle reading a story and ordering the paragraphs

Oil trucks, helicopters and storybooks may not seem like three things that belong together but they were all key elements of the first Tok Bali Literacy Project community event at SK Cherang Ruku school in rural Kelantan.  The project is run by the British Council and sponsored by Hess, an international energy company, who also provided the (toy) trucks and helicopters.

British Council staff, Hess staff and volunteers,  Ministry of Education officials, school leaders and teachers came together to organise a hugely successful parent outreach event that saw 100 parents join their children for a morning of activities that concluded with the creation of ten storybooks. The aim of the event was to encourage parents to be more involved in their children’s education and to highlight the importance of reading for enjoyment at home as well as at school. How better to do that than create a book with your child! 

The community event was not without stresses, especially for the teachers and school leaders who had never done this kind of activity before with parents. There were many fears, not least of which was that the parents would be too nervous to come. All these fears were completely unrealised and instead everyone had a fun, relaxing morning creating storybooks and masks, playing games and enjoying engaging storytelling sessions. The addition of prizes, goody bags, Hess trucks and helicopters, as well as breakfast and lunch made it a great day out for all the family.

Community events are only one aspect of the Tok Bali Literacy Project. Three primary schools from the Tok Bali area were selected to take part in the project, as part of the community engagement programme that Hess runs in the area. Each of the schools has received 200 high quality storybooks from the UK for the teachers to use in class and for the students to read during school and at home. The English teachers from the school all participate in workshops focused on using storybooks in class, practising storytelling, story-related activities and sharing ideas for developing the literacy of their students and their confidence in English.  

The project started in April 2017 and will continue until October 2017 with more workshops and community events at the three schools. 

By Lisa Walsh – British Council Malaysia trainer

Students read their finished book
Students read their finished book
Parents and children sit together waiting for the event to start
Parents and children ready for the event
A model truck and helicopter
A model Hess truck and helicopter