I was in London earlier this week on a ‘training day’ for the National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars Challenge.
The purpose of the challenge is to motivate children to read for pleasure using football as the spur. Schools, libraries, youth groups etc from all over England can participate. They receive a pack that contains tons of exciting stuff but the main piece of ‘kit’ (football terminology is used throughout the scheme) is a wall chart with 100 goal stickers. Every time the ‘players’ – i.e. the kids – complete a reading task they are awarded with a sticker. Complete the wall chart and you complete the challenge. One of the fixtures (reading tasks) is to meet an author. This is where I come in. I’m thrilled to be of the PLRS’ designated authors. Here I am with the rest of the gang in my cohort:
Left to right: Anthony McGowan, Tom Palmer, Graham Marks, Paul Cookson (standing) Bali Rai (standing) Alan Gibbons, Justin Somper, David Bedford, Helena Pielichaty, Jim Sells (Literacy Trust) Alex Botham (Literacy Trust) Not shown: Dan Freedman
Same shot but with a better view of the orange juice and Alan Gibbons’ jazzy shirt
Reads United re-united. Tom Palmer has been involved with the PLRS from the start. His football reading game is a massive hit in schools.
Justin Somper, author of the fabulous ‘Vampirates’ series. Check out Justin’s website – it’s awesome
Graham Marks. Poor Graham had an argument with a pavement a few days before the meeting. Guess who won?
Paul Cookson: Paul’s football poems are genius. He’s currently writer -in-residence at the new National Football Museum. I’d hate that job. really, I would…
Anthony McGowan is one of my fave tweeters. His YA book ‘The Knife that Killed Me is being made into a film. For younger readers his Bare Bum Gang books are a hoot.
David Bedford is mainly a picture book writer but his series The Team is prefect for this venture
What a line-up, eh? The new season of Premier League Reading Stars kicks off in January. Watch this space!
Photographs by kind permission of Alan Gibbons