Pupils from St Aldhelm’s Academy have been selected to become the Cherries’ Premier League Reading Stars.
Reading Stars is a national literacy scheme, run by the Premier League and the National Literacy Trust.
Now in its 13th year, it uses the motivational power of football to inspire children, particularly boys, to enjoy books.
As Premiership newcomers, this is the first time AFC Bournemouth’s Community Sports Trust has been involved in the scheme.
But they are confident they have picked a winning team, as the club’s Head of Community, Steve Cuss explained:
“We’re very excited to be delivering this programme at St Aldhelm’s. The pupils have been asking a lot of questions about what they’ll be doing and seem really enthusiastic.”
He continued: “We have 20 boys and girls from year seven taking part and will be meeting for a different class, or ‘fixture’ as we call them, for the next 10 weeks.
“Each fixture will involve different activities such as online challenges and games which are all designed to improve the youngsters’ literacy and spark their interest in reading.
“We’ll also be reading some great football books and they will be rewarded for their efforts with exclusive clips of their heroes talking about their top footballing moments.”
AFC striker Callum Wilson will be supporting the pupils as the scheme’s ambassador.
Steve Cuss said: “The pupils who complete the course will also have a chance to interview Callum in the Vitality Stadium’s media suite during week 10 of the course.”
Pupil Jamie Hart said: “I play football for Longspee and am looking forward to everything about this course, especially meeting the players.”
Premier League Reading Stars produces impressive results in children’s attainment and attitude to literacy;
The latest evaluation revealed a 50 per cent increase in the number of children who enjoy reading and almost twice as many children reading 10 books a month, by the end of the programme.
The St Aldhelm’s pupils will also receive Premier League branded stationery and the school will receive 20 books, selected specifically to appeal to reluctant readers.
Dagmar James, literacy resources manager at the school in Herbert Avenue, Poole, said: “We are one of just two lucky schools which have been chosen by the club to be their Reading Stars and the pupils are very excited.
“Unfortunately, reading isn’t seen as ‘cool’ by some of them, but I think they will all benefit greatly from the programme and will come away with a greater confidence and enthusiasm for reading.”