THEY may be known for their football skills, but these Pompey stars have taken a break from training to inspire young people to read.
Pompey captain Johnny Ertl and goalkeeper Simon Eastwood visited Stamshaw Junior School to help the children improve their literacy.
It was all part of the school’s ambition to raise the profile of reading through the National Literacy Programme called Premier Reading Stars.
The children in Year 5 and Year 6 interviewed the players, asking questions about reading and football.
Simon said: ‘Reading is such a big part of people’s lives.
‘If they can look up to me and Johnny then hopefully they will take it on board and start reading and learning.
‘It’s nice to come in and help in the community.
‘It’s good that things like this can happen. It’s so important in people’s lives that people learn to read at a young age.’
Johnny said: ‘They were excited and they came up with good questions like favourite authors and how many books we have at home. We enjoyed our time.’
The 10-week programme aims to encourage children to develop a love of reading and to raise attainment and progress levels.
The children used their literacy skills to brainstorm questions to ask the players.
It ties in with The News Read All About It campaign to improve literacy in schools.
Year 6 teacher Gemma Gwilliam said: ‘They were phenomenal. It’s definitely something that we’d like to do again. I’m looking to take the children to a game.
‘I want to reward them for their hard work and their reading.
‘Already, just four weeks in, they are much more engaged with their reading.
‘They need to see that it’s not just us reading, but everyone.
‘To have positive role models in reading will enthuse them to read and take on new books.’
Year 6 pupil Jada Fray, 10, said: ‘Reading is fun.
‘You enjoy yourself when you learn. I now know that reading is amazing.’
She added: ‘It’s been fun because they told us all about their reading and just because they are footballers, they still read.’
The children finished off the day by playing football with the players inside the grounds of the school.