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Tuesday 07 May 2013

Dempsey and Mertesacker make Reading Stars line-up

Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove to attend event encouraging literacy in children

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker, Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and Tottenham Hotspur's Clint Dempsey are among 20 Reading Champions who are encouraging schools throughout the country to take part in this year's Premier League Reading Stars programme, which is being launched today with the help of Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove.

Premier League Reading Stars (PLRS) 2013, which is delivered by the National Literacy Trust and funded by the Premier League and the Arts Council of England, will be launched at Smithy Street School in Whitechapel today with Gove making a visit to highlight the good work being done by the programme and to encourage schools throughout the country to take part.

PLRS has been using the power of football to encourage youngsters to improve their literacy skills since it was first launched in 2003. Every year a player from each of the 20 Premier League clubs becomes a Reading Champion, with the stars setting literacy challenges via online videos and talking about their favourite books. Children in schools and libraries take part in a 10-week reading intervention with Premier League branded pens, badges, reading journals and wall charts.

The results of the programme have proven to be dramatically effective in encouraging children between the ages of seven and 12 to improve their literacy skills, with 75% pupils having made six months to a year’s progress in reading in those 10 weeks and the same percentage admitting to reading more as a direct result of knowing that footballers read.

In the past players such as Theo Walcott, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs have been involved, recording exciting online challenges to test the literacy skills of young people, and this year the Premier League is pleased to announce the 20 Reading Champions for 2013 and the books they have chosen for this 10th-year edition of the successful initiative.

Any school wishing to do so can take part in this year's programme by simply buying a PLRS resource pack from the National Literacy Trust website.

The roll call of 2013 PLRS Reading Champions and the books they have chosen reads as follows:

Club Player Children's Book Adult's book
Arsenal Per Mertesacker Hans Christian Andersen:
Fairy Tales
A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng
Aston Villa Stephen Ireland The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien Back from the Brink by Paul McGrath
Chelsea Ross Turnbull James and the Giant Peach by Roald Rahl Rafa: My Story, by Rafael Nadal
Everton Sylvain Distin Charlie and Lola: I Am Really Concentrating, by Lauren Child The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne
Fulham Mark Schwarzer Megs & the Complete Left Foot, by Neil Montagnana-Wallace The Player, by Boris Becker
Liverpool Joe Allen Mother Goose's Nursery Ryhmes, by Alison Green The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
Manchester City Scott Sinclair The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson Pele: The autobiography
Manchester United Jonny Evans The Hardy Boys: The Tower Treasure, by  Franklin Dixon Jack & Jill, by James Patterson
Newcastle United Gael Bigirimana Children's Bible, Usborne's Children's Bible Hinds' Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard
Norwich City Jonathan Howson Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection, by Rene Stauffer
Queens Park Rangers Ryan Nelsen Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr On China, by Henry Kissinger
Reading Mikele Leigertwood Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
Southampton Jos Hooiveld Jip en Janneke, by Annie MG Schmidt and Fiep Westendorp Ajax Barcelona Cruyff: The ABC of an Obstinate Maestro by Frits Barend
Stoke City Charlie Adam The Broons and Oor Wullie, by RD Low Scholes: My Story, by Paul Scholes
Sunderland Adam Johnson James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl Blessed, by George Best
Swansea City Neil Taylor Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell Messi: The Inside Story of the Boy Who Became Legend, by Luca Caioli
Tottenham Hotspur Clint Dempsey Little Blue Truck, by Alice Schertle The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien
West Bromwich Albion Ben Foster The BFG, by Roald Dahl The Green Mile, by Stephen King
West Ham United Matthew Taylor James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl Bravo Two Zero, by Andy McNab
Wigan Athletic David Jones The Witches, by Roald Dahl The Complete Roman Army, by Adrian Goldsworthy

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