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Newcastle United – Read To Win

11 years ago

Schools Urged To Sign Up For Premier League Literary Project

Schools in the North East are being encouraged to sign up for a new literacy project backed by Newcastle United Defender Mike Williamson.

Mike Williamson 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 the players will set literacy challenges and talk about their favourite books, sharing their love of reading online at

The National Literacy Trust programme, targets primary and secondary pupils who are not reaching the expected levels in literacy for their age. It sees every Premier League club nominate a player as their Reading Star. This player selects their favourite children’s and adults’ books to create a 40-strong book recommendation list. Mike’s chosen story is Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll.

Mike said: I would recommend that kids read The Adventures of Meg & Mog. I find it really funny and light-hearted, plus it has a lot of hidden meanings. It’s great when books can teach life lessons and capture your imagination at the same time.

Schools can purchase a resource pack for £290 from the National literacy Trust which includes “Tactics Book” for teachers (which supports the primary curriculum and can be adapted for secondary schools), branded football resources for 32 pupils, including pens, badges and reading journals, and exclusive access to online videos of high-profile players to inspire pupils.


To celebrate the launch of this exciting project, Newcastle United Foundation has five free resource packs to give away to local schools. The pack will also come with a free two hour literary themed workshop and stadium tour at Sports Direct Arena.

Schools can enter to win the free pack and workshop by emailing [email protected] by Friday 10 February. Five winners will be selected at random and will be notified by Monday 20 February.

About Premier League Reading Stars

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. Since then over 100 Premier League players have supported the project, 15,000 children and parents have participated, and over 50,000 books have been read.

This year, the programme will reach over 30, 000 young people, with the potential for tens of thousands of reading challenges to be completed. For the first time the challenges online will reach millions of people all over the world and any school or library can buy their own resource pack to take part in the programme.

Any child with internet access can watch the unique films in which Mike and the other high-profile Premier League players including Arsenal’s Theo Walcott and Liverpool’s Charlie Adam set 100 literacy challenges and explain why they picked their favourite books and what they enjoy about reading. Children completing challenges win prizes, while a child completing all 100 will get the chance to win some signed memorabilia.

The choices of the players’ books range from bestsellers to the classics, thrillers to history. Once again there are familiar names such as Roald Dahl, JK Rowling, Dan Brown and Julia Donaldson, but the likes of Paulo Coelho, Bram Stoker, Harper Lee and Alexandre Dumas also make an appearance. Three of the players are authors in their own right: Theo Walcott, Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer and Stoke City’s Carlo Nash.

Schools and libraries can view the full list of books and order the resource pack by visiting


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