We’ve hit that magical time that only comes once every four years, where a considerable amount of the population find themselves scheduling their lives around 22 men kicking a ball. For some of us, once every four years is far too often, for others it is far too infrequent.
The World Cup is undeniably inescapable, and has many parents and children forfeiting other (dare I say, more important) activities for some lengthy screen time. While there is certainly an infectious team spirit and camaraderie surrounding football that cannot be denied, other benefits of watching it are up for discussion.
But if you can’t beat them, join them, right? So I found myself recently reading up on the World Cup and football in general as I realised I couldn’t even tell you how many players there were on a team! To my surprise, I stumbled across an article describing the Premier League Reading Stars programme; a scheme run by the National Literary Trust that encourages young children to get reading. I know, I know, it’s not quite World Cup related but it is football and therefore close enough, I think.
It is no secret that there are a great many (particularly primary school age) children who really struggle with reading, whether this be the act itself or finding the right genre. Whatever the personal reason, it seems that they are able to relate to prolific public figures who are making a genuine impact on them and their reading. You certainly cannot argue with the numbers – skill level, enjoyment, enthusiasm and even library attendance increased in the vast majority of participants.
The scheme involves footballers releasing a list of their favourite children’s books and actively talking about reading in an effort to encourage children to read more. They work closely with both primary and secondary schools across a range of subjects to deliver the scheme as effectively as possible. I’m sure some of your little (or not so little) ones will be interested in the titles, which can be found on their website.
Entries from over the years include classic fairytales, lots of Roal Dahl and some more controversial or challenging suggestions such as The Iliad. Though perhaps ringing alarm bells at first, the extensive range of adaptations of classic myths and legends mean that it is not necessarily a title to be excluded. Miles Kelly have their own collection of Myths & Legends for you and your children to enjoy.
My discovery of this scheme is certainly a pleasant one. Hopefully it continues to inspire and encourage our readers and indeed many children in the years to come.
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