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Reading Stars

20 May 2013

A reading campaign based around Premier League footballers has been a resounding success, according to the report released today by the National Literacy TrustUK-based organisation which has campaigned since 1993 to improve literacy standards across all age groups. Excellent research information and details of the many initiatives the charity is currently involved in. It also has a useful page of news stories on UK literacy, which links to newsletter 'Reading Stars', with UK Premier League footballers such as Theo Walcott, is a huge success, inspiring more children to read and raising library attendance and literacy. The involvement of 20 Premier League football players was key and they set five literacy challenges, which then form the basis of the 100 multiple-choice quizzes children are challenged to complete online.

The scheme ran in 472 primary schools and 232 secondary schools, and the control was a similar group of schools which did not take part in the promotion. Results showed that 49% of pupils joined their public library, and 35% who were already members now use their public library more often. 41% of those who were in school libraries now use their school library more often and overall 60% now read more in their own time.

It's also important that 75% of the children taking part were boys (based on the survey of 2,170 of the participants). Boys are notoriously hard to reach and have more literacy problems than girls.

Another recent piece of research shows that parental involvement is a highly important element in how well children do at school, more important than the level of family income. The clear indication is that parents who want their children to do well should be involved, particularly with reading to them, as this will make a huge difference.

Another survey from the National Literacy Trust shows that for the first time children are reading more on screens of various kinds than in books. 39 per cent of children and young people read daily using electronic devices including tablets and e-readers, but only 28 per cent read printed materials daily. Children say they prefer to read on screen. Over half (52 per cent) said they would rather read on electronic devices, but only a third (32 per cent) would rather read in print.

NLT Director Jonathan Douglas said: 'Our research confirms that technology is playing a central role in young people's literacy development and reading choice. While we welcome the positive impact which technology has on bringing further reading opportunities to young people, it's crucial that reading in print is not cast aside.

‘We are concerned by our finding that children who only read on-screen are significantly less likely to enjoy reading and less likely to be strong readers. New technology clearly has a valuable part to play in literacy development, but we would encourage parents to ensure their children still read in print form if they are to become avid readers and reach their full potential in school.'