Premier League Reading Stars is a partnership with the National Literacy Trust and sees players from all 20 Premier League clubs encourage children to improve their literacy skills by recommending their favourite children’s and adult books to read. And earlier this year, Mikele Leigertwood became the Royals’ ‘Reading Stars’ ambassador.
“As a child, reading is very important - it encourages you to be able to speak well and write creatively at school, and it helps you expand your imagination,” Ledge said in an interview with the National Literacy Trust’s website.
“Personally, I enjoy reading in bed or especially when I’m travelling on long away journeys on the coach or in planes. I find reading relaxes me and even helps my concentration, which as footballers we need.
“I read a lot to my son, who is six years old and thankfully he’s a keen reader. Fantastic Mr Fox is the Roald Dahl book I enjoyed the most when I was growing up as a child. I tried to read as much as possible when I was younger and this book used to get me every time – it’s about a mischievous fox who torments some farmers to try to feed his family.
“I enjoy crime and thriller stories and I like John Grisham as an author, especially ‘A Time To Kill’” - his chosen adult book.
“These are the kinds of books I enjoy reading in my spare time, it’s the father of a ten-year-old girl who takes the law into his own hands, and it’s about a community who comes together to support him.”
Funded by the Premier League and Arts Council England, 2013 sees Premier League Reading Stars enter its 10th year; over the last decade more than 44,000 young people have taken part in delivering the project, with another 800,000 involved in wider Reading Stars activities.
Last year, Reading Stars went online for the first time, with players setting 100 literacy-based challenges and explaining why they picked their favourite books and what they enjoy about reading.
More than 18,000 online challenges were completed by children from all over the world. And Reading Stars does help with reading attainment: over the 10-session course, 56% of pupils progressed by one sublevel and 17% progressed by at least two sublevels (a whole year’s expected progress), 75% enjoyed reading more and 70% became more confident in their writing.
You can watch Mikele’s short video here