Sammy Ameobi has joined 19 other Premier League players to use the motivational power of football to encourage children to improve their literacy skills.
As part of the Premier League Reading Stars programme, Newcastle winger Ameobi and his fellow professionals will set literacy challenges and talk about their favourite books, sharing their love of reading online at www.premierleaguereadingstars.org.uk
The National Literacy Trust programme, which is now in its 11th year, targets primary and secondary pupils through football, encouraging them to enjoy reading. It sees every Premier League club nominate a player as their Reading Star.
So Ameobi - Newcastle's Reading Star - selected his favourite children's and adults' books to go on the recommendation list. He picked The BFG, by Roald Dahl, as his favourite children's book, with Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien selected for adults.
Now any child with internet access can watch the unique films in which 20 high-profile Premier League players set literacy challenges and explain why they picked their favourite books and what they enjoy about reading.
The challenges are used to support more than 30,000 children in 1,000 schools and libraries, who are taking part in a ten-week intervention with Premier League branded materials, including wristbands, reading journals and wall charts.
Premier League Reading Stars, which is delivered by the National Literacy Trust and funded by Arts Council England and the Premier League, started in 2003.
Research into the scheme has shown:
- Three out of four of pupils made six months' to a year's progress in reading in just ten 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 per cent 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 added: "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."