Football sessions help boys score reading success

GOALS Boys with coach Nathan Cornick, and Pompey's mascot Nelson. Picture: Malcolm Wells (121354-1745)

GOALS Boys with coach Nathan Cornick, and Pompey's mascot Nelson. Picture: Malcolm Wells (121354-1745)

Kate Tame and Cllr Roger Price next to the current First World War  plaque inside St Mary's Church in Portchester Castle. 

Picture: Sarah Standing (170259-7003)

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FOOTBALL fever is helping young boys at a primary school reach their ultimate goal – to be champion readers.

Youngsters at Padnell Infants in Cowplain are scoring their highest ever literacy results with a weekly dose of the beautiful game.

The Kick Into Reading scheme run by Pompey FC’s educational team has spurred on even the most reluctant readers as coaches spend half an hour reading and discussing books with the boys and another half hour playing football.

In just one year, the percentage of Padnell boys with expected reading levels has shot up from 67 to 70 per cent – two per cent above the England average.

And the percentage of those exceeding expectation has in the same time risen from 18 to 30 per cent – smashing 2011’s national average of 22 per cent. Finley Hawkins and Joseph Stanley, both seven, are in their final year and have benefited from the scheme.

Finley said: ‘I always looked forward to football and reading because it was so much fun and I got better at both!

‘I didn’t read a lot before but now I do’

Joseph Stanley, seven, said: ‘It’s so different because you get to learn more about football as well as books.’

Headteacher Michelle Petzer, who has signed up to The News’ literacy campaign Read All About It, said: ‘It’s had a significant impact. We had some boys who didn’t even want to pick up a book – but football has transformed their attitude to reading.’

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