Reading advice from footballers aims at whole family

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Families are being encouraged to share stories together by the National Literacy Trust in an extension of its successful football and literacy initiative aiming to inspire boys to read.

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The scheme, Premier League Reading Stars, launched in 2003 to encourage eightto ten-year-olds to read books recommended by football stars, is now being targeted at the wider family. Players from the 20 Barclays Premier League clubs have selected their favourite children's books to create a recommended reading list. Early years favourites Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and Stick Man by Julia Donaldson are on the list.

Football clubs also adopt a library which receives free copies of all the titles and offers sessions where families can meet their football heroes.

The extension of the scheme follows a National Literacy Trust survey which found that a third of boys struggle to find books that interest them.

The survey also revealed that a fifth of children aged eight to 16 who read below the expected level for their age believe that reading is more for girls than boys.

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said, 'We absolutely believe initiatives that make literacy relevant to communities with low literacy levels are key to increasing reading and writing skills.

'That's why in the lead-up to the general election we are calling on political parties to support projects like these and to adopt policies that will make a difference to literacy, as outlined in our 2009 Manifesto for Literacy.'

Further information www.literacytrust.org.uk

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