Wednesday 5th February 2020 was World Read Aloud Day. The Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr and the Director for the Americas and South Pacific at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Isha Sillah, read to pupils at the Baana Nursery and Preparatory School. While Aki-Sawyer read to the primary section from the African Novel, ‘Chike and the River’, Sillah read to the nursery section the famous fable story, ‘Cinderella’. Both women expressed how pleased they were to read to the children. As they read, the women endeavor to explain difficult terms and dramatise certain scenes. Sillah told the children to be curious and develop the habit of reading and seeking knowledge. Sillah also stated that it was important for parents or elderly literate persons to read to the children at home. “It is when the children are young that they attract their minds,” she said adding, “if we miss it now, they will not develop the habit of reading. Without reading you can’t achieve much… you can’t attain a lot of knowledge in various fields,” she said. She noted that knowledge was evolving adding if one does not read he will not perform effectively. The Head teacher of the school, Marcella Koroma, said reading is the backbone of education. If a child can read, she will be able to understand questions and answer them properly. She said in their school, they spend fifteen minutes of their time reading aloud to the children stating that they encouraged the children to read aloud in order to build their confidence. She advised that parents encouraged their children to read not only schoolbooks but other books as well. World Read Aloud Day was founded by LitWorld in 2010 as an opportunity for people all around the world to celebrate the joy of reading aloud, and advocate for literacy as a fundamental human right that belongs to everyone.
By Edna Browne-Dauphine