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Top football authors help pupils to become premier readers

29 July 2013|Tottenham Hotspur

More than 180 primary school pupils visited White Hart Lane to take part in a series of literacy workshops hosted by two of the country’s leading authors.

Held in partnership between Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and the National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars programme, 13 schools from across the country were treated to fun and stimulating sessions from best-selling children’s authors Dan Freedman and Bali Rai.

Using the appeal of Premier League Football Clubs, the Reading Stars programme aims to capture children’s interest in football to support their reading and literacy development.

Sessions were held in Tottenham Hotspur Football Club’s state-of-the-art Learning Zone which creates an exciting and unique learning environment for students, helping to reignite their passion for subjects through collaboration, group work and imaginative teaching. Each academic year the Learning Zone hosts 40 workshops with more than 4000 students passing through its doors each year.

Tottenham Hotspur Foundation offers a complete educational pathway for young people from Key Stage One to Higher Education with the emphasis on helping individuals to fulfil their potential.

Pupils were also treated to a question and answers session about reading with Tottenham Hotspur first year scholar Lloyd Ross and first year professional Oliver Modeste, as well as a behind the scenes tour of White Hart Lane Stadium allowing them to follow in the footsteps of their footballing idols.

London born Dan Freedman is the author of the highly popular Jamie Johnson series which charts a young man’s progress up the football ladder while Bali Rai is best-known for his hugely popular Soccer Squad series among younger readers.

Dan said: "Premier League Reading Stars brings football and reading together so, as the author of the Jamie Johnson series, it's a real privilege to have been involved in the event at Tottenham Hotspur.

"I grew up in East Finchley and went to watch my first ever game of football with my dad at White Hart Lane when I was three years old.

"To come back and chat with local school kids about football stories was just about perfect."

Gareth Dace, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation’s Education Development Officer commented: “All of our education programmes aim to use the power and appeal of a Premier League football club to engage students with their learning and in this instance, to develop a love of literacy.

“We really believe that an iconic venue like White Hart Lane Stadium creates a stimulating learning environment for any child or adult, with the Premier Reading Stars event proving incredibly enjoyable and beneficial for all involved.”

Jim Sells, Premier League Reading Stars Programme Manager from the National Literacy Trust added: “We were privileged to hold our first author-led session at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and were delighted with the reactions of the pupils which took part. Premier League Reading Stars opens up the doors to a lifetime of reading for pleasure for kids who wouldn’t typically read. Reading for pleasure enriches children’s lives and helps them gain vital skills for the future and sessions like this make reading fun for children which is so important.”

For further information about the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation visit: or to find out more about the Premier Reading Stars programme, visit: