If you haven’t already discovered the world of ‘Football School,’ then you are missing out on a huge treat. Looking for a series to engage your reluctant readers, then look no further! The third book in the series, ‘Where Football Tackles the World,’ is jam packed with fascinating and funny facts to satisfy the appetite of the most curious of children. You can learn the maths behind the coin toss, find out who stole the world cup, discover why a good night’s sleep is essential for peak performance and meet animal mascots from all around the world. It also includes a chapter written by Nadia Nadim, on women’s football which is just brilliant as I have an army of girl football players at my school. A brilliant mix of intriguing information and highly amusing illustrations by Spike Gerrell make these books really irresistible and engaging.
Today it’s my stop on the ‘Football School,’ blog tour and I have a special guest post on a subject very close to my heart, ‘Reading For Pleasure.’ As a school librarian my main focus and drive is to find the right book for a child that will turn them into a book lover, the book that will open the door so they begin their reading journey. I was interested to discover that developing the love of reading was at the heart of creating this fabulous series.
Reading For Pleasure – Alex Bellos & Ben Lyttleton
The idea of the Football School books series began as a way to get children to develop a love of reading and a curiosity about the world. We knew from studies by the National Literacy Trust that lots of children stop reading around 7 or 8 and it’s a big concern for schools. We believed that one way to get kids at Key Stage Two level reading again was to provide them with a book on a subject they felt passionate about – and that’s the age when many children really get into football. Football School explains the world through the prism of football.
We have been inspired by stories of parents and educators who have told us of the book’s positive effect among their children. One parent came up to us after a festival talk and thanked us for writing the breakthrough book for her child. She had been frustrated that he had not wanted to engage with any books, but since picking up Football School, something clicked and he understood the joy that reading for pleasure could bring.
One teacher described the same effect. “My class were unsure of reading for pleasure,” she said. “It’s Week Three now and all my class chose to crouch as close to me as possible for story time and sighs have become excitement. My child who said he hated books and was only interested in football asked to take his book [Football School] home to read tonight. All credit to Football School for helping out. As soon as the children asked me if they could take Football School home – as it is popular – the ripple effect was crazy. Lots suddenly asked and I could see the lightbulb moment when they thought ‘reading is cool’ after all.”
We know the many benefits reading can bring: not just improved educational results, but also self-confidence, better vocab, better imaginative and analytical thinking but above all, introducing children to the simple joy that reading as a form of pleasure can bring. Football is a subject that kids get so passionate about, that we want to transfer that into a passion for the page.
Football is more than a sport, it is one of the most important manifestations of popular culture on the planet. It has clear links to science (biology, ballistics, statistics), humanities (a rich history and wide geographical reach) and arts (the drama of a great game, the fashion of the players and the songs that are sung). In our books we have also shown the link with astrophysics, religious studies, philosophy, zoology, botany and much more. Another important message in the books is how everything in life is interconnected, and that can help children to see the world (and their studies) in a much more holistic way.
We continue to do live events at schools and work with literacy charities and football clubs’ community programmes to spread the message that children can read for pleasure and learn about the world at the same time. We can’t promise that reading Football School will make children better players – but they might become smarter ones!
Thanks to Alex and Ben for this really insightful blog post. You can check out their brilliant website for fun resources and activities.
You can win a set of all 3 ‘Football School,’ books and a quiz book over on Twitter by retweeting my pinned tweet or by commenting on the blog, or do both for an extra enty. Giveaway ends 27th October UK only.
Thanks to Jo and Walker Books for sending me the ‘Football School,’ series. ‘Football School: Where Football Tackles the World,’ is available to buy online now or from any good bookshop.