Tom Palmer Euro 2012 blog, part two: Confessions of a school-visiting author
Posted by Tom Palmer
25 May 2012
"Reading for Pleasure = when they don’t even think they are reading"
It doesn’t happen as much as it used to, but sometimes, when I go into schools, a rogue teacher will say something like “Are you ever going to write proper books?” or “It’s nice you like reading about football, but can you tell the boys how you moved onto reading something more…more worthwhile?”
I am invited to speak in at least 200 schools a year because I write books about football. When I’m there I run a workshop called the Football Reading Game, where I encourage the children to talk about reading football in newspapers, magazines and books.
My favourite part of this event is when – as often happens – a boy, who has said boldly that he hates reading, is later enthusing about how he reads newspaper match reports, Match of the Day magazine and has read three footballer’s biographies in the last year. I love it because here is someone who is reading for pleasure and they don’t even think they are reading. They don’t define themselves a reader.
Reading for Pleasure
That is what I think the reading for pleasure is. When they don’t even think they are reading. Ask a child what excites them: Is it war or sport or horses or animals or magic or cars or mermaids or horror or…? Whatever it is there is a magazine or a website or a book out there for them.
But once you have got your hands on the reading material for the specific child, you need ways to get them to engage with it. There is plenty of free material on literacy, school and author websites you can use to do just that. But what about football?
Euro 2012 and reading
Using football to inspire reading for pleasure is exactly what the National Literacy Trust and I are doing for Euro 2012 (the international football tournament that takes place from 8 June to 1 July). We want to give teachers, librarians and parents the tools to use this massive football tournament to engage their football enthusiasts in reading for pleasure.
During June we will be producing the following, and it’s all free:
- A pack full of activities that you can use to engage children in reading for pleasure in the classroom. Includes ideas for activities, displays and events, a word search, a football reading quiz, a Euro 2012 prediction game and discussion topics. View pack
- A daily classroom read cliff hanger story with a spying/football theme. Sixteen five-minute reads for the classroom that will be influenced by what happens during the tournament. Running from 11 June to 2 July, Mondays to Fridays. Available as printed text or video version. View Chapter One
- Ten daily tweets with simple ideas on how parents can use Euro 2012 to enthuse a child with reading. Each tweet will be backed up by a short blog giving more details. Follow @tompalmerauthor to receive these from 4 to 13 June.
- A daily blog for children about the ups and downs of the tournament, secretly mixing football chat with tips on exciting things to read about Euro 2012. Visit http://www.footballdetective.blogspot.com/
- There is already a review of the main Euro 2012 preview magazines on the National Literacy Trust blog now. View blog review.
- If you want a whole book based at Euro 2012, tracking the progress of five child spies who are trying to stop a maniac blowing up the England team, then you could try my new Puffin book, Black Op. Best for Years 4 to 7. Available everywhere, now.
- For members of the National Literacy Trust schools’ network there will be a daily writing challenge based on the latest controversy from Poland and Ukraine. Available from Monday 11 June.
We hope these resources help you help children to read for pleasure.
Tom Palmer is the author of three Puffin series: Football Academy, Foul Play and The Squad. His website is www.tompalmer.co.uk, where you can find a huge amount of free resources looking at subjects as diverse as fair trade, global warming, people trafficking… and football.
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