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Jan supports 11th year of Premier League Reading Stars

26 March 2014|Tottenham Hotspur

Jan Vertonghen has joined a national campaign encouraging kids to read more by promoting his favourite books.

The National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars programme uses children’s passion for football to motivate them to enjoy reading and to improve their reading levels, and is now in its 11th year.

In the programme each Premier League club selects one of its players to become a Reading Star to talk about their favourite books and set reading challenges via online videos. These challenges are used to support over 30,000 children in 1,000 schools and libraries, who are taking part in a 10 week reading intervention with Premier League branded materials, including certificates, wristbands, reading journals and wall charts.

Jan selected Matilda, by Roald Dahl, as his favourite children’s book, and Inferno by Dan Brown as his chosen adult title.

See the Belgian defender speak about why he likes reading here:

In terms of reading attainment, there is a significant gender gap. Indeed, the latest National Literacy Trust research of over 35,000 8 to 16 year olds shows that only one boy in four reads outside of class every day, and almost two thirds of boys prefer watching TV to reading (63.6%). While Premier League Reading Stars is an inclusive programme, it is an intervention which has an impact upon this particular issue because of the high appeal that football holds for so many boys. Research study into the effectiveness of Premier League Reading Stars has found that it is having a dramatic impact on participating pupils:

•    Three out of four of pupils made six months’ to a year’s progress in reading in just 10 weeks
•    The number of pupils who read every day had doubled by the end of the programme
•    Nearly nine out of ten pupils said they now read more because they know Premier League footballers read
•    50% of pupils joined their public library

Jim Sells, Manager of the programme at the National Literacy Trust said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Premier League to launch the 11th year of our Reading Stars programme. The National Literacy Trust’s experience in supporting children to read for pleasure, combined with Premier League football’s huge influence, means we have a fun and appealing programme with proven results.  Using football as a hook to get children to enjoy reading enriches their lives, helps them to succeed at school and gain vital skills for the future.”

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said: "We're very proud of Premier League Reading Stars, our literacy programme which has inspired tens of thousands of young people to raise their reading levels. The fact that the schools we work with have low achievement in literacy and high numbers of children from less well-off homes means that we are helping those who need it most, providing a positive impact on their lives. Now we're hoping that this year's line-up of Reading Stars will be able to reach an even wider audience."

Premier League Reading Stars is funded by the Premier League and Arts Council England.