Friday 18 September 2015

Love Football, Loathe Reading? Premier League Reading Stars Can Help.

Edge author Dave Cousins explains how a love of ‘the beautiful game’ can inspire an interest in reading for reluctant readers.

Premier League Reading Stars is an innovative programme run by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with the Premier League. The scheme is designed for schools to use with target groups of children aged 9-13 years who “love football but lack motivation to engage with and achieve in literacy.” Building on evidence that footballers can influence the way young people view reading, PLRS offers a range of resources for schools that tap into children’s passion for football. Results show that participation in the project can have a significant impact on attainment and attitudes to reading and writing, particularly among boys and those on free school meals.

Since kicking off its inaugural season three years ago, thousands of children have enjoyed taking part in Premier League Reading Stars. A 2014 evaluation reported that three out of four children taking part made at least six months’ reading progress during the ten week scheme, with one child in three making a year’s worth of progress! 

“On average, the reading progress of participating pupils was 50% higher than peers not taking part in the programme.”

A third of participants go on to join their local library, and the number of children who develop a daily reading habit as a result of the course is more than double. Nearly two thirds of the children involved say that seeing Premier League footballers read, made them want to read more. One of the participating school’s Ofsted report stated: “Both their reading and writing scores rose considerably as a result of their involvement in this initiative.”

The new enhanced programme for 2015-16 includes a wealth of resources and benefits, including:

—1 year membership to the National Literacy Trust Network. 
—Author events with a range of venues, dates and authors.
—New season resource pack (for 20 children) including teacher’s manual, children’s activity books, certificates, stickers and posters. 
—recommended reading list for 2015-16, including the best of football-related reading online. 
—staff training sessions, held regularly across England and Wales, (September to November). 
—NEW mixed box of 20 books specially chosen to appeal to reluctant readers .
—NEW access to our updated website, with interactive challenges, competitions and quizzes, plus entry to the National PLRS Competition with the chance for pupils to win tickets to Premier League matches.

Charlie Merrick’s Misfits in Fouls, Friends and Football, written and illustrated by Dave Cousins is out now, published by Oxford University Press.

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