The National Literacy Trust has conducted research into the area of improving literacy and numeracy with the help of football and it can act as a valuable resource for schools to promote learning to young children. Football is a national sport, loved by millions of people, and it also acts as a benchmark for many advertising, media and charitable organisations to promote their campaigns effectively to the population. Research has shown that if people increase the number of hours in a day they spend reading subjects they find interesting in printed materials, such as magazines and newspapers, their literacy improves and they tend to lead happier lives.
It may come as surprising to many to find that some people are often uncomfortable with football because they do not understand the appeal of the sport or tends to not not have positive feelings towards it or are sometimes even intimidated by it. Football is loved by young children and older people alike and it could act as a comfort for them to know that this kind of public opinion is often also exhibited towards people who love to read. This is because, quite similarly, people who do not read tend to not have positive feelings towards the idea of reading aplenty, sometimes they place obstacles in readers’ paths and at other times they occasionally get intimidated by the idea of reading too.
There are many ways that football fans can increase the amount of hours they spend reading, from forming a football reading committee at school to working with their teacher to help select books best tailored to their reading interests. Below are some ideas which can help:
- Put up a topical display in your school made from football content from the sports sections of newspapers and magazines. Remember to change the display regularly to keep the material current and the children interested. The display should be placed in areas children are more likely to see it, such as in the library, the school’s sports centre, lockers or the cafeteria.
- Older children with more football know-how can be given the task of ensuring the display is kept up-to-date, thus making the experience more interactive.
- Children of all ages can participate in creating a display of predictions for the weekend’s matches, which would also help them feel more involved with the practice.
- Exchanging books is a good way to encourage more reading in young children. It can also help to diversify the subjects they read, crossing over from books limited to the topic of football or sports in general to books on other topics.
- Older children can be made to write “match reports” of the books they read and put it up on a display because children may find it insightful to know what their fellow classmates think about a particular book they’ve been reading as part of an initiative to spur on reading habits amongst young children.
- Cooperate with Playing for Success centres and local football clubs. Playing for Success centres help to improve literacy and numeracy for young children, with football acting as a motivation.
With the help of effective support and engaging initiatives, literacy and numeracy can be improved amongst young children and it can also provide them with a peace of mind that football is making a far bigger contribution to their lives than simply loving the game.