Thursday 22 March 2012

Premier League stars embrace literacy drive

Footballers get behind scheme which encourages youngsters to read more

Fulham's Mark Schwarzer is among the Premier League stars backing the scheme

Stars from all 20 Barclays Premier League clubs are once again backing the Premier League Reading Stars scheme - which sees footballers encouraging youngsters to boost their literacy skills.

Arsenal and England forward Theo Walcott, who will help launch the scheme on Thursday, is among those aiming to get young people reading through an innovative programme of challenges, videos and prizes.

And for the first time in 2012, the challenges are available online and can be accessed by people all over the world and any school or library can fund their own resource pack to take part in the programme.

The scheme operates with each club nominating its own 'Reading Star' - with the stars selecting their favourite children’s and adults’ books to create a mini library of recommendations (the full list is at the foot of the page).

"Reading Stars underlines the wonderful power football has in engaging young people"
- Richard Scudamore

Joey Barton, Ryan Nelsen and Mark Schwarzer are some of the other stars involved and the range of authors picked ranges from David Beckham to JK Rowling to Harper Lee.

Any child with internet access can watch the unique films in which the 20 high-profile Premier League players set 100 literacy challenges, explain why they picked their favourite books and what they enjoy about reading.

Children completing challenges win prizes, while a child completing all 100 will get the chance to win signed memorabilia.

The Duchess of Cornwall, Patron of the National Literacy Trust is launching the 2012 programme.

Premier League Reading Stars, which is delivered by the National Literacy Trust and funded by Arts Council England and the Premier League, started in 2003.

More than 100 Premier League players have supported the project, 15,000 children and parents have participated, and more than 50,000 books have been read.

An impressive 96% of children who have taken part say they will read more regularly thanks to the project.

In 2012 the programme will work with 1,000 schools and libraries and reach more than 30,000 young people.

"Encouraging young people to read could not be more important"
- Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said: "The success of Premier League Reading Stars in encouraging children to read over the last eight years underlines the wonderful power football has in engaging young people.

"This new online element of the programme is very exciting because it means many more children and their parents will be able to access and learn from the Reading Stars resources.”

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust said: "Our research shows that a quarter of boys say that a sportsperson could inspire them to read. So getting footballers on board gives us a new and powerful strategy to get boys reading."

Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb said: "The difference in reading ability between those who read for just half an hour a day is equivalent to a whole year's schooling at age 15.

"Encouraging young people to read could not be more important and I am grateful therefore for the work of the Premier League and the National Literacy Trust in delivering the Premier League Reading Stars programme."

Stars' choices

Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Children's book: TJ and the Hat-trick by Theo Walcott
Adults' book: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling
Watch Theo's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Theo Walcott's video challenges

Barry Bannan (Aston Villa)
Children's book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Adults' book: David Beckham: my side by David Beckham
Watch Barry's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Barry Bannan's video challenges

Ryan Nelsen (Blackburn Rovers)
Children's book: Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck! by Kyle Mewburn
Adults' book: The Marks of Cain by Tom Know
Watch Ryan's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Ryan Nelsen's video challenges

Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers)
Children's book: The Twits by Roald Dahl
Adults' book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Watch Stuart's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Stuart Holden's video challenges

Josh McEachran (Chelsea)
Children's book: Mr Messy by Roger Hargreaves
Adults' book: El Diego by Diego Maradona
Watch Josh's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Josh McEachran's video challenges

Tim Cahill (Everton)
Children's book: BFG by Roald Dahl
Adults' book: The Smell of Football by Mick Rathbone
Watch Tim's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Tim Cahill's video challenges

Mark Schwarzer (Fulham)
Children's book: Megs and the Vootball Kids by Neil Montagnana-Wallace and Mark Schwarzer
Adults' book: Destined To Live by Ruth Greuner
Watch Mark's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Mark Schwarzer's video challenges

Charlie Adam (Liverpool)
Children's book: Quack! Quack! by Roger Priddy
Adults' book: May I have your attentions please? by James Corden
Watch Charlie's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Charlie Adam's video challenges

Owen Hargreaves (Manchester City)
Children's book: The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss
Adults' book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Watch Owen's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Owen Hargreaves's video challenges

Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
Children's book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
Adults' book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Watch Chris's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Chris Smalling's video challenges

Mike Williamson (Newcastle United)
Children's book: Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll
Adults' book: Bob Wilson's Ultimate Collection of Sporting Lingo by Bob Wilson
Watch Mike's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Mike Williamson's video challenges

David Fox (Norwich City)
Children's book: The Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson
Adults' book: Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre
Watch David's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch David Fox's video challenges

Joey Barton (QPR)
Children's book: The Witches by Roald Dahl
Adults' book: Dracula by Bram Stoker
Watch Joey's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Joey Barton's video challenges

Carlo Nash (Stoke City)
Children's book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Adults' book: Family Adventures in Style by Dr Jill Nash and Carlo Nash
Watch Carlo's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Carlo Nash's video challenges

John O'Shea (Sunderland)
Children's book: Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
Adults' book: The Runaway Jury by John Grisham
Watch John's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch John O'Shea's video challenges

Leon Britton (Swansea City)
Children's book: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Adults' book: An Idiot Abroad by Karl Pilkington
Watch Leon's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Leon Britton's video challenges

Niko Kranjcar (Tottenham Hotspur)
Children's book: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling
Adults' book: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Watch Niko's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Niko Kranjcar's video challenges

Paul Scharner (West Bromwich Albion)
Children's book: The Gruffalo's Child/The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
Adults' book: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Watch Paul's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Paul Scharner's video challenges

Chris Kirkland (Wigan Athletic)
Children's book: Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
Adults' book: Thinking Outside the Box by Brad Friedel
Watch Chris's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Chris Kirkland's video challenges

Stephen Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Children's book: The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
Adults' book: Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
Watch Stephen's video challenges
Link for Schools' use: Watch Stephen Ward's video challenges

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Key Points

  • Annual Premier League Reading Stars scheme launches for 2012
  • Scheme has helped 15,000 children and seen more than 50,000 books read
  • Project is now online and aims to reach 30,000 young people in 2012