Footballer’s tale in scheme to inspire youngsters to read

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FOOTBALL is being used as inspiration to encourage children to boost their reading.

Year five children, aged nine and 10, will be given a copy of one of author Dan Freedman’s series of books, as part of a project organised by the Pompey Study Centre.

The book, called The Kick Off, follows the story of a boy’s dream to become a footballer. Children will take part in an hour-long literacy workshop followed by an hour’s coaching session at the club. The sessions are inspired by the skills the character Jamie Johnson learns in the book.

Author Dan said he fully supports the project, which launches in the city on September 25.

‘It’s brilliant on every level,’ he said.

‘To work somewhere like Portsmouth where the club is so important to the community is absolutely fantastic.

‘These books aren’t just being sent to kids, they are being hand-delivered as part of a project to raise literacy levels and aspirations.

‘It’s going to be fun too. They will go out and get coached by Portsmouth and they will learn new skills. The best way to learn and to be engaged is to enjoy it. It’s a real privilege to be involved in it.’

It links to our Read All About It campaign to boost literacy in schools.

Dan said he can relate to the problem a lot of young children have when it comes to reading.

‘I was a stubborn non-reader for many years when I was at school,’ he said.

‘But I was obsessed by football. These boys are a reference to being in that situation. With so many other activities they could be doing, the simple thing is to write a book on a subject they are interested in. These books are about a young kid who is a normal kid and is just like them.

‘He happens to be brilliant at football and very determined to make it to the top. Hopefully they can aspire to and relate to that.’

Clare Martin, of the Pompey Study Centre, added: ‘There has been a lot of publicity about getting boys to read. Football is a hook and we want them to know that reading can be fun.’