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Frank Lampard kicks off 11th year of Premier League Reading Stars Programme

25 Mar 2014

DSC 1386The National Literacy Trust and the Premier League hosted a fun and interactive celebration of children’s reading at Chelsea Football Club on 25th March. Chelsea and England star, Frank Lampard, who also has his own series of children’s football books, joined in to share his own love of reading with pupils who are taking part in the National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars programme. 

Frank joined 30 children aged 9 to 11 from local schools in a football literacy quiz led by children’s football author Tom Palmer. Tom’s new book Over the Line is based on a Chelsea footballer who joined the Footballers’ Battalion and fought in WW1. The children then had the chance to fire questions on reading and football at Frank, Richard Scudamore, CEO of the Premier League, and Cressida Cowell, author of the hugely successful How to Train Your Dragon series.

The event launched the 11th year of the National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars programme, which uses children’s passion for football to motivate them to enjoy reading and to improve their reading levels. In the programme each Premier League club selects one of its players to become a Reading Star to talk about their favourite books and set reading challenges via online videos (see below for the full list of 2014 players and their favourite reads). These challenges are used to support over 30,000 children in 1,000 schools and libraries, who are taking part in a 10 week reading intervention with Premier League branded materials, including certificates, wristbands, reading journals and wall charts.

In terms of reading attainment, there is a significant gender gap. Indeed, the latest National Literacy Trust research of over 35,000 8 to 16 year olds shows that only one boy in four reads outside of class every day, and almost two thirds of boys prefer watching TV to reading (63.6%). While Premier League Reading Stars is an inclusive programme, it is an intervention which has an impact upon this particular issue because of the high appeal that football holds for so many boys. Research study into the effectiveness of Premier League Reading Stars has found that it is having a dramatic impact on participating pupils:

  • Three out of four of pupils made six months’ to a year’s progress in reading in just 10 weeks
  • The number of pupils who read every day had doubled by the end of the programme
  • Nearly nine out of ten pupils said they now read more because they know Premier League footballers read
  • 50% of pupils joined their public library

Children who took part in the programme were compared with a group of children facing similar struggles with reading who did not take part. The study found 10 times as many children who took part in the programme made progress in reading.

Frank Lampard, Chelsea and England midfielder said: “Reading should be a pleasure no matter what age you are, and Premier League Reading Stars is a proven way of getting children to enjoy books.  It’s very easy for young people to get distracted by computer games and television but the importance of getting children to enjoy reading was the inspiration behind my own books. Whether you’re reading with your kids or just enjoying a good book on your own it’s a wonderful experience and one of life’s great pleasures.”

Jim Sells, Manager of the programme at the National Literacy Trust said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Premier League to launch the 11th year of our Reading Stars programme. The National Literacy Trust’s experience in supporting children to read for pleasure, combined with Premier League football’s huge influence, means we have a fun and appealing programme with proven results.  Using football as a hook to get children to enjoy reading enriches their lives, helps them to succeed at school and gain vital skills for the future.”

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said: "We're very proud of Premier League Reading Stars, our literacy programme which has inspired tens of thousands of young people to raise their reading levels. The fact that the schools we work with have low achievement in literacy and high numbers of children from less well-off homes means that we are helping those who need it most, providing a positive impact on their lives. Now we're hoping that this year's line-up of Reading Stars will be able to reach an even wider audience."

Premier League Reading Stars is funded by the Premier League and Arts Council England.

To take part in the player reading challenges visit www.premierleaguereadingstars.org.uk. For more information for schools visit www.literacytrust.org.uk/premier_league_reading_stars.  

Tags: Premier League Reading Stars

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The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.