Tom Palmer Euro 2012 blog, part one: Reading Euro 2012
Posted by Tom Palmer
14 May 2012
With Euro 2012 looming, the magazine racks are full of guides to the tournament. I could tell you which I think is the best, but what if you want to get one for a child who loves football and is, maybe, not so keen on reading?
Big football tournaments like Euro 2012 are a great way of engaging children with reading. But we need to make sure we get the right guide for them. That’s why I spent a day with twelve children from Ghyllgrove Junior School, Basildon, setting them a series of tasks to help them to work out which Euro 2012 guide they liked best: the one they would recommend adults buy for other children around the country.
I’ve written six short reviews of the main Euro 2012 magazines, based on the children’s reactions. The number of votes each magazine got is also listed.
Daily Express Euro 2012 (£3.50)
The main feature of this magazine is a long article about each participating team, with information boxes and pictures to break up the text. There is also a wall chart. The children weren’t that impressed. I think the problem was the majority of the words were in long articles, not broken up into shorter less intimidating chunks. Also, they weren’t as attracted by the design. The one plus they identified was that it is the least expensive guide on the market.
ITV Euro 2012 Fan's Guide (£12.99)
This one is more of a book than a magazine, explaining the price. The children liked its solid appearance and the fact that it had clear and short info on each team, tournament and qualifying group. They weren’t greatly impressed with the layout, they found it a bit plain. I told them it was written by a well-known football author, Kier Radnedge (meaning the written content is of high standard), but that didn’t make them choose it as their favourite. They did like it more than most of the others, though.
FourFourTwo Magazine – with Euro 2012 extra magazine (£4.99)
The look of this magazine grabbed the children initially. There is a picture of Ashley Young growling out of the cover. You can also get Germany, Holland and Spain covers, which appealed to some children. The liked the not-too-serious cover and some of the content that was slightly irreverent. Also, the snappy short text with tight analysis of what might happen in the extra magazine appealed. It gave them access to information quickly, without too much reading effort.
UEFA Euro 2012 Official Preview Guide (£4.95)
Official guides to anything are limited because they have to pander to politics and sponsors. This UEFA guide to Euro 2012 was the least popular of the six. It is full of interviews with players from the past that the children had never heard of. There was a dullness about the magazine that suggests it was created by committee and without much passion. The children barely gave it a second look.
World Soccer Euro 2012 Ultimate Guide (£4.50)
World Soccer is great, but I have always found children find it too technical and adult-looking. It is my favourite of the guides. Every coach is interviewed. There is superb analysis of playing tactics, rather than the big-name players. I love it. And, to be fair, this was the second most popular magazines guide. The fact that it was not long-winded had a made a good impression. If you have an adult or older child who is obsessed with football, this could be the one for them.
Magbook Ultimate Euro 2012 Guide with wallchart (£5.99)
Voted the best magazine and best wall chart by the majority of the children. It is superbly designed, with stunning images and text broken into manageable chunks. Quirky design made it much more visually attractive, drawing the children in. There is lots of variety, making each page look interesting, rather than the same as the last one. They loved it for all these reasons and more.
So MagBook is the one the children of Basildon recommend. But look out for more guides to Euro 2012. In the coming weeks Kick, Match and Match of the Day will produce special editions. These will feature more images and snappier shorter text. The children are far more familiar with these three kids’ magazines, so I think they’ll be particularly popular. I’ll review them nearer the time.
Tom Palmer is the author of Black Op (Puffin Books, £5.99), which is set in Poland just before the Euro 2012 tournament kicks off. www.tompalmer.co.uk
As well as this blog, Tom has also written some other fantastic resources around literacy and Euro 2012, including a toolkit and a daily cliff hanger story. Find out more.
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