As soft light of the sun illuminated little faces on a tranquil weekend morning, the words they were articulating became all the more prominent. Jatiya Press Club premises on Dhaka's Topkhana Road yesterday buzzed with the slogan: “Shobdo kore pori, nijekey abishkar kori” (Let's read aloud and learn more about ourselves).
The children from different primary schools came with their guardians to celebrate the World Read Aloud Day.
Their participation in art competition, recitation and other exciting activities inside the VIP Lounge of the club made for an unusual and much welcome day at the venue.
“I have recited a poem here… My mother helped me learn this by heart,” said Shorna Saha, a class IV student of Nidhu Smiriti Government Primary School.
To celebrate the day for the first time in Bangladesh, Rup Bangla – a private advertising firm – chalked out a series of events.
Initiated by the New York-based literacy non-profit LitWorld, World Read Aloud Day has been celebrated for the past 10 years in 173 countries.
Speaking as the chief guest, Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, former vice chancellor of Dhaka University (DU) said, “Reading aloud is a part of our culture… Students should read aloud at least for a while every day to learn proper pronunciation.”
Not pronouncing our mother language Bangla correctly is a form of disrespect to the Language Movement of 1952, he added.
“The importance of reading aloud has increased in this era of technology”, said Pankaj Debnath MP.
Prof Naba Krishna Ghosh, child disease specialist of MR Khan Hospital, elaborated on how reading aloud is necessary for the development of a child's brain. “It [reading aloud] also develops hearing skill of children,” he added.
“There is correlation between articulation and reading aloud,” said Prof AJM Shafiul Alam Bhuiyan of the department of television, film and photography of DU.
Rupok Singha, organiser of the event, told The Daily Star, “Although reading aloud has a range of benefits, children are not encouraged sufficiently to do it. Rup Bangla has arranged this event to generate awareness in this regard.”
Child specialists believe reading aloud can boost children's memory, concentration and socialising skills, he said.