Saturday 09 March 2013
Arsenal's Per Mertesacker visited Islington Central Library this week to celebrate World Book Day and read some of his favourite stories to a group of local schoolchildren.
The defender is Arsenal’s ambassador in the Premier League Reading Stars programme – an initiative run in partnership with the National Literacy Trust towards which all Premier League clubs contribute a range of engaging resources that are used in hundreds of schools and libraries across the country to inspire more young people to enjoy reading.
"If football can help young people to enjoy reading, that’s great"
At the library, Mertesacker read 'The Ugly Duckling' by Hans Christian Andersen, before taking part in a question-and-answer session with the youngsters, who were from Islington's Montem Primary School, Drayton Park Primary School and Ambler Primary School.
Arsenal in the Community has worked with each of these schools on different literacy projects, including Premier League Reading Stars and the Arsenal Double Club. This year the Arsenal Foundation also helped to fund a new classroom and art studio at Drayton Park Primary School, while club staff have visited Ambler Primary School for weekly reading sessions with pupils over the course of recent months.
Arsenal also work closely with the local libraries service in Islington and offer all participating schools an assembly, a visit to Emirates Stadium and storytelling sessions.
"My favourite book as a child was Grimm’s fairytales so it was nice to have a chance to read a story to the local children today and celebrate World Book Day," Mertesacker said. "If football can help young people to enjoy reading then that’s great and I am happy to play a part.”
Premier League Reading Stars will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.