Primary school pupils visit Madejski Stadium for a class...Reading FC Community Trust have been working with local school Birch Copse Primary for the past seven weeks working on improving the reading skills of some of their students.
Every week, Activities Officer Chris Knott has been spending 30 to 40 minutes with some of their pupils reading a book and completing activities to help with improving their English.
Last week the children were invited to Madejski Stadium for a tour of the ground before meeting Kingsley in the home dressing room and practicing their reading!
As you'd expect, the book the children have been reading recently has a football focus and is titled: Billy the Kid!
Billy was a champion soccer star, playing for Chelsea in the 1930s. But that was before war broke out…
Billy the Kid is told through the voice of an 80 year old man, who looks back on his life as Chelsea's champion striker until the outbreak of war in 1939 and on through his subsequent life. Billy joins Chelsea as a football apprentice, rises through the reserves to become a real champion. His passion for football sees him through the war years - even as a prisoner of war he organises a friendly against the Italians - but, having been injured by a mine he cannot play for Chelsea on his return to England.
Billy turns to vagrancy and alcohol and for years he wanders up and down the country. He re-settles in London in a derelict house and is befriended by a family who move him to a shed in their garden. He, in turn, helps their son with his football who in his turn becomes a Chelsea player. Billy becomes a Chelsea Pensioner and his 80th birthday is celebrated when Chelsea play at home.
Each child takes a turn reading from the book followed by a small activity to make sure they have understood what they read.
The stadium tour was the final session and a reward for all the progress they have made over the last few weeks!
The tour was all about relating words and moments in the book to real life. So how Billy would have felt playing football? How he would feel playing at Madejski Stadium, and the difference between then and now.
This is all part of the Premier League Stars programme that the Community Trust run for all local schools with the overruling aim of getting more children engaged in reading and writing.
For more information or to find out how to get your school involved please contact Liam Thorne on 0118 907 2151 or LThorne@readingfc.co.uk