Premier League Reading Stars is a reading intervention scheme jointly developed by The National Literacy Trust and the Premier League, aimed at improving reading attainment in ensuring that pupils in Years 5 and 6 meet expected KS2 targets. The scheme can also be used with pupils in Years 7 and 8 that haven’t yet met KS2 targets.
Like LastMinutePen, Premier League Reading Stars aims to foster and develop a love of reading in pupils via the world of football. A teacher pack is available which provides resources for a 10 week course for 32 pupils. The project claims that the following improvements have been found in just 10 weeks of students’ undergoing the project:
- 3 out of 4 children made at least 6 months’ progress in just 10 weeks. 1 child in 3 made a year’s progress, or more
- The number of children who enjoy reading ‘very much’ tripled as a result of taking part
- The number of children who read every day doubled
- 7 out of 10 say that they are now proud to be readers
- Nearly half joined their public library
- 2 out of 3 say that as a result of taking part they now have a favourite author
- Nearly 9 out of 10 participants said that seeing Premier League footballers read has made them want to read more
- Those who took part were 10 times more likely to progress in reading than similar children who didn’t take part
The teacher’s pack comes at a cost of £150 and I have not yet had the opportunity to test it out. Certainly, the information on the scheme’s website seems as though it is more geared towards a KS2 audience which means I don’t anticipate that I’d be able to use it in my own practice. We’ll see.
Teacher’s pack aside, the project’s site also contains an ‘Online Challenges’ section in which anybody can access a number of reading challenges, each set by a different Premier League Footballer (meaning student’s can ‘collect’ the challenges as they would football stickers) which aim to improve students’ comprehension skills. These challenges cost nothing. Furthermore, they are also differentiated according to difficulty (you can choose from Professional, Word Class, or Legendary just like you can on the Fifa football games) which means students can opt for the challenge that suits them best and then work their way up to the highest level.
So what about the challenges? Excellent. Upon reaching the challenge homepage (http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/plrs_2014_home) students are met with the smiling faces of 20 different players (one from each different premier league club) each of whom has 3 challenges for students to take part in. By clicking on a player you are asked to choose one of the challenges. I clicked on Jan Vertonghen’s challenge page (because he’s Mighty Spurs of course) and selected the easiest challenge: Professional Level. Upon clicking the challenge I was then shown a video in which a slightly wooden (okay, positively mahogany) Jan read aloud an extract from Andros Townsend’s (another Spurs star) player profile page from the team website. Once I’d listened to Jan’s reading I then had to answer three questions based on the extract. So far, so good. But I haven’t read anything yet right? Correct. However, question 3 can only be answered once you’ve read the extract that Jan was reading, yourself. So, scrolling down to the bottom of the page I found the extract, read it, and answered question 3. Goal! (That means I got it right.)
As you click on through the harder challenges the extracts become increasingly more difficult. And the extracts are not always football based. Jan Vertonghen’s ‘Legendary’ challenge asked me to listen/read an extract from Dareen Shan’s Zom-B. Whoever came up with the texts, know what students want. This is good stuff.
I’m going to email National Literacy Trust and see if they can send me a £150 resource pack for free and I can let you know what it’s like. In the meantime however, do check out the Online Challenge section of the website with some of your struggling pupils. You never know, it may well do exactly what it claims to do on the tin!
Here’s the link again: