The Daily Star’s new campaign, “Master Reader”, in association with Igloo Ice Cream, recently travelled south of the country to encourage the habit of reading among young children. The programme was arranged in three schools in the port city of Chattogram on October 29-31, 2019.
The programme, along with of fun games and competitions, tests the students’ vocabulary, reading, and public speaking skills. Group 1 has students from Classes 5 and 6, while Group 2 is for students of Classes 7 and 8.
The schools that participated on the Chattogram leg of the Master Reader journey were Sunshine Grammar School, Cider International School, and International Hope School Bangladesh (Chattogram Branch). The students from each school showed enthusiasm in the tasks presented and were especially thrilled to take part in the competitions. The Daily Star team, too, were impressed at the reception and hospitality of the schools.
In each school, Group 1 students sat for a reading competition. Students were asked to read a SHOUT article in front of a panel of judges. The students were then given scores based on their speed, fluency, grammar, punctuation, and engagement while reading.
The senior group, Group 2, took part in a public speaking competition. Students of this group were given time to read a specific article on SHOUT and then prepare a speech loosely based on the premise of the article. Their speeches were scored on the basis of content, style, delivery, and interaction.
The school children also participated in a competitive game of crossword puzzle. At the end of each group’s segment, the scores from the competitions and the word game were summed up and one student from each group was selected as the group winner.
Students from the prestigious Sunshine Grammar School showed a real interest in English language; many of them wanted more of such events in the future. At Cider International School, students took time out of their busy class schedules for the chance to be a Master Reader. Quite a few of them were in traditional Bengali attire as a poetry recitation was scheduled later in the day.
The impromptu speeches by students at the Chattogram branch of International Hope School Bangladesh were a treat to watch. The topic of the day “How my favourite female fictional character inspires me” drew interesting extempore speeches, and students spoke their hearts out about figures from books, movies, and television series.
“I try to read books and newspapers regularly. Reading keeps me updated about what goes around in the world,” said a Class 7 student.
Each school round winners will get a chance to represent their institutions during the final round of Master Reader, where they will be competing for the championship title against students from other English medium schools from all over the country early next year.