Reading Force hits the road!
We love bringing authors into schools and giving Service children books by that author. As children tell us after an author event, there is just something great about meeting a real author.
So when the award-winning football and rugby author Tom Palmer came to us with the idea of a Reading Force Roadshow, in which he would visit schools with a majority of Service children, we jumped at the chance.
During April and May 2015 Tom Palmer and Jim Sells, manager of The National Literacy Trust's Premier League Reading Stars, visited ten schools across the country, from Plymouth to North Yorkshire. The Roadshow entertained and inspired over 1,700 Service children and their families to share books and talk about them.
Tom and Jim entertained and involved children in a fun-filled event during school time which included a football reading quiz and a penalty shoot-out.
This wss followed by an after school fete for Service children and their families. Every child was given a signed Tom Palmer book and could choose from four titles: Combat Zone, Over the Line, Ghost Stadium, and Secret FC – all cracking reads!
The Reading Force Roadshow visited ten schools in April and May 2015:
Eggbuckland Vale Primary School, and Widey Court Primary School in Plymouth. Downlands Primary School in Blandford Camp. Talavera Junior School in Aldershot. Carnagill Primary School, and Hipswell CofE Primary School at Catterick Garrison. Leeming RAF Primary School. Bulford St Leonards Primary School, and Kiwi Primary School at Bulford Camp. RAF Benson Community Primary School.
Tom has worked with Service children before – he based his series Rugby Academy on the experiences of RAF children and parents he spoke with at Albrighton Primary School, and is the children’s author in residence at RAF Museum, Cosford. He said of his idea for the Reading Force Roadshow:
‘Service men and women – and their children – make great sacrifices for me and my family. I feel it is my duty to do something that might help them. I read with my daughter several times a week. We talk about what we read. It is a major part of our relationship. If I can help other families do this – in person and via the internet – it is the least I can do.’
Jim Sells said of the Roadshow:
‘I’ve spent over 15 years working in literacy, and until recently was a TA soldier serving with 7 Rifles. The Reading Force Roadshow gives me the chance to bring these two together and I can’t wait to get stuck into delivering these sessions with Tom! I’m sure it’s going to bring a lot of fun to families at these schools with so many children from the Armed Forces, as well as giving parents some great ideas about how they can support their children’s education. Reading together is one of the best ways to help your children, plus it provides really special family time. So we really want to help parents to get involved, and the Reading Force Roadshow is just the right vehicle!’
The Reading Force Roadshow was supported by the Arts Council England, the Armed Forces Covenant LIBOR Fund and Tom’s publishers, Barrington Stoke.
Find out more about Tom Palmer. Keep up with all the Roadshow news in our Roadshow blogs.