The beginning of the football season presents parents with a
great opportunity to get their football-loving kids reading more. Here are ten
tips for things you can do to use the beautiful game to encourage the beautiful
habit that is reading for pleasure.
Visit the library for free books on how to play football, the
history of football, biographies of players, fiction set around football, fact
and quiz books, as well as newspapers and access to the internet. There are
hundreds of books in sections like Sport, Children’s Non-fiction, Biography and
Junior Fiction. IF in doubt ask a librarian.
Set up the BBC Football page as your homepage on any
computers in your house. Every time someone goes online they might be enticed
into following up the homepage headline and reading more.
Newspapers are full of football season previews and
outrageous transfer speculation in August. Buy a local or national newspaper
and leave the sport section in the living room, on the table, on a kids’ pillow,
or magnet it to the fridge. Read it yourself first, so you can ask your child
what they think of the content, if they don’t read it straight off.
Buy one of several football magazines available that will
include football season previews. Match,
Match of the Day and Strike It cater for younger readers. FourFourTwo and World Soccer for older readers. Many big football clubs have their own
Set up an email account for your child. Encourage in-the-know
relatives and family friends to email them links to football newspaper articles
or football book reviews, asking your child what they think of this or that.
Encourage them to send links back in return.
Read football stories by famous footballers, if your children
don’t normally enjoy fiction. David Beckham, Theo Walcott and Frank Lampard
have stories in their name. Also try other football story writers like Helena
Pielichaty, Dan Freedman and, er… Tom Palmer.
Do fantasy football in one of the newspapers, like the Sun or Telegraph. This means kids will want to check their scores in the
newspaper every week. It might also encourage them to check who is injured or
in a run of form, to help them play fantasy football more effectively.
Challenge them to beat you.
Set up a football feed on Twitter, so that you can follow
your favourite football team, fan clubs, some of the players (the ones who
don’t swear), as well as local newspapers and others. Most tweets will have a
link to a football match report, a player interview or an article.
Ask your school if they take part in the Premier League
Reading Stars football and literacy scheme: www.premierleaguereadingstars.com. Many
schools can sign up for free access to videos of footballers talking about
reading and excellent football and literacy resources. The scheme has a great
record for engaging reluctant readers.
Visit my website – www.tompalmer.co.uk – and help
yourself to the free children’s activity packs and first chapters of all my
football books. And please feel free to email me via the website if you want to
ask anything about how you can help your children get into reading through
Tom Palmer, author
A huge thank you to the wonderful Tom Palmer for his words. He very modestly hasn't mentioned that he was recently awarded the 2013 Solihull Children's Book Award for Black Op – so massive congeratulations are in order too!
Puffin's always quite liked a kickabout. He fondly recalls the days he and his fellow pufflings used to do keepy-uppys with a conker. He was never any good at headers though because his beak was always stuck in a book.