Book Reading Competition is a flagship outreach programme of the British Council Library, which aims to develop new readers in English. This programme is all about developing the reading habit and language proficiency in English through reading a simplified version of story books. Book Reading Programme has been running since 2010 and started with less than 5,000 students.
From 2015, with the grant from Bangladesh Steel Re-Rolling Mills (BSRM), the British Council is now able to take this programme to schools attended by underprivileged children, located in marginalised areas in Chittagong Hill tracks and hoping to reach further 5,000 students from ten more institutions. With this aim every year, the British Council arranges various English skills development activities like creative writing, art and quizzes competitions under this programme followed by a prize giving ceremony.
Besides the regular activities, this time, storytelling sessions were conducted among the underprivileged children in Chittagong Hill tracks on 27 and 28 August 2016. At first, the storytelling sessions were conducted at the Bandarban Cantonment Public School among 200 attendees out of 250 members of the Book Reading programme. The following day out of 500, 400 members joined the storytelling sessions at the Lakers Public School, Rangamati. There were 18 interactive storytelling sessions in both the schools among primary and secondary school students. Teachers were also present during the sessions. There was also a briefing session on the core curriculum of the Book Reading programme. At the end of each session, Learn English portal was introduced to both the students and to the respective teachers. They were briefed about how to find and use this portal to enhance their proficiency in English Language and get benefited.
The best part was listening to the original stories presented with ornamental words in the English language for the school students. It articulated how the Book Reading Programme is helping the underprivileged students to enrich their vocabulary and to enhance their creative thinking skills. Finally, attendees shared their experience and enunciated that they feel proud and privileged to be a part of the Book Reading programme. They valued the initiatives of the British Council to enlighten marginalised areas in Chittagong. They are looking forward to having more initiatives and collaborating sessions in the future by the British Council.