The National Literacy Trust and the Premier League have joined forces to distribute nearly 25,000 books to five to 11-year-olds who need them most this World Book Day (Thursday 4 March).
Pupils taking part in the Premier League Primary Stars education programme, delivered by professional football club community organisations across England and Wales, will each receive a free copy of Football School: 20 Fantastic Football Stories by authors Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton.
National Literacy Trust research has found that children who own their own books are nearly three times more likely to enjoy reading. The partnership will help support children whose access to physical books has been made difficult due to school and public library closures during the national lockdown.
Nick Perchard, head of community at the Premier League said: “Through the Premier League Primary Stars programme we now engage more than 18,000 schools in England and Wales, either through the in-school support provided by professional football clubs or via the free online educational resources.
“This World Book Day, we are extremely happy to be able to further aid children’s education by putting free books into the hands of five to 11-year-olds. This is another important way our long-standing partnership with the National Literacy Trust is supporting children with literacy and encouraging them to develop a love of reading.”
To further support pupils on World Book Day, the National Literacy Trust will host a fun-filled Premier League Primary Stars Facebook Live event, with the authors of the Football School title being distributed, Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton.
Jim Sells, sport and literacy programme manager at the National Literacy Trust said: “We are proud partners of the World Book Day charity, which promotes reading for pleasure to improve all children’s life chances. We know that children who have books at home do better in school but there are so many children who still don’t have a book of their own. We are delighted to be able to distribute such an incredible number of books to schools across the country with our friends at the Premier League.
“I’m also very excited for the Facebook Live event with Kenzie Benali, Ben Lyttleton and Alex Bellos, three brilliantly energetic personalities who inspire children to get into reading through their love of football.”
Teachers, parents and guardians will also have the opportunity to read a free copy of Football School: Season 1 via the National Literacy Trust’s website: wordsforlife.org.uk/premierleague after the event, thanks to publisher Walker Books.