ALMOST 100 children joined Paul Cookson at the Pirelli Stadium on 1st March to take part in a Premier League Primary Stars Club Author Day.

Hosted by professional football club community organisations, Premier League Primary Stars Club Author Days are part of the Premier League’s free primary school education programme, Premier League Primary Stars, which uses the appeal of football to help children to be active and develop essential life skills.

Last year, more than 1,200 primary school pupils across England and Wales had the opportunity to take part in the in-person Club Author Days, funded by the Premier League and delivered in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, while a further 140,000 pupils also engaged with Premier League Primary Stars virtual author days.

Children’s author Paul Cookson joined the pupils from Anglesey Academy and Holy Trinity Primary School to take part in a series of fun workshops and activities designed to inspire a love of reading, including a book quiz, a ground tour and a visit from Burton Albion men’s first team player Deji Oshilaja.

Katie Johnson, BACT Education Manager said: “It was an amazing day seeing the children get so much enjoyment from the workshop with Paul, writing and performing their class poems with pride. The children asked some brilliant questions around how to write poetry and Paul’s career.

“During the book quiz First Team player Deji Oshiaja joined in with one of the teams to show his love of books and reading which was really inspiring to the children.

“We love offering our partner schools these opportunities. Thanks to the Premier League Charitable Fund and the National Literacy Trust for their support with this event.”

Launched in 2017 and available to every primary school in England and Wales, Premier League Primary Stars uses the appeal of football to help children to be active and develop essential life skills.

Premier League Charitable Fund Chief Executive, Ruth Shaw OBE, said: “Premier League Primary Stars Club Author Days offer a fantastic opportunity for children to reap the many benefits of reading for pleasure. Thanks to the support of professional football club community organisations, we’re proud to work with talented children’s authors to bring books to life for thousands of children every year, both virtually and in football stadiums and classrooms across England and Wales.”

Premier League Primary Stars supports professional football club community organisations to create opportunities for young people from all backgrounds to experience the benefits of reading for pleasure through free of charge author visits.

National Literacy Trust research found that pupils who have author visits during the academic year are twice as likely to read above the expected level for their age and are more likely to enjoy and be confident in their reading and writing.

Alongside the club author days, more than 300,000 free books have been gifted to young people since Premier League Primary Stars began in 2017, thanks to the education programme’s partnership with the National Literacy Trust.

Jim Sells, Sport and Literacy Programme Manager at the National Literacy Trust, said: “We know from our research and decades of experience that reading for enjoyment improves children’s chances of success in school and in life. Tapping into their interests helps to build this love of reading, which is why we use the motivational power of football to get children, especially struggling readers, into books. By bringing together local authors and football clubs, we are taking an important step towards inspiring a love of reading in children that will benefit them for a lifetime.”

Currently, 104 professional football clubs from across the leagues run in-classroom Premier League Primary Stars sessions in local partner schools. More than 68,000 teachers have signed up to access free online national curriculum-linked resources, to date.

The total Premier League investment into Premier League Primary Stars to date is £61.9million, shared to club charity organisations via the Premier League Charitable Fund.

For more information, please visit Premier League Primary Stars