Liverpool City Council is urging residents to give the gift of reading for Christmas.
Everton star Samuel Eto’o has given his backing to a book donation scheme delivered in partnership with Liverpool City Council’s City of Readers initiative and Everton in the Community.
The book donation campaign has been kick started by Champions League winner Eto’o at Gladwys Street Primary School. He donated copies of his own book, Birth of a Champion, and gave his backing to the scheme with the hope that thousands of books will be handed in and distributed to children across the city to improve literacy levels and create a new generation of readers.
During his time at the school, Eto’o spent his time assisting Year Four and Year Five pupils with their reading practice and they all had the opportunity to read extracts from their favourite books to him. Whilst at Gwladys Street, the Everton star also met key figures behind the City of Readers campaign.
Speaking after visiting the school, Eto’o said: “As a dad I know how important it is to encourage my children to read; it is one of the most important skills we can pass onto our children and so this was a campaign I really wanted to get behind.
“A scheme like this is so important to help improve reading levels for children in Liverpool and I am thrilled to be invited to launch the campaign and have brought along some of my own books to donate to the appeal.
“I wrote my book because I felt it was important for me to share my experiences as a young boy growing up and I hope that children can take something away from it.”
Donations of either brand new or second hand books which would appeal to any age, with an emphasis on books aimed at younger people, can be dropped off at six locations:
• Toxteth Annexe
• Central Library
• Norris Green Library
• Childwall Library
• Calderstones Mansion House
• Goodison Park
Councillor Lana Orr, who is the Mayoral Lead for Reading Performance, said: “Sometimes books can get overlooked as presents at Christmas, with children favouring the latest electronic trends or the must-have toy of the moment.
“Getting in to the habit of reading at a young age is massively important – not only does it vastly improve literacy skills but it fires children’s imaginations and makes them more creative individuals.
“We’re hoping that people give generously to this scheme – whether it’s a well-thumbed story in good condition or a completely new book – so that we can engage with as many youngsters as possible and encourage them to make time for reading in their lives.
“I’m delighted such a high-profile star as Samuel Eto’o will be joining us for the launch, and I’m sure his support of the scheme will inspire people, young and old, to get involved.”
The book donation scheme is being organised in partnership with Everton in the Community who are currently delivering a reading project in Gladwys Street Primary School after receiving funding from the City of Readers.
Jackie Twort, from Everton in the Community, said “We are proud to be involved in the City of Readers project. Gwladys Street School is delighted we are supporting them, and the volunteers are so enthusiastic. It is such an easy project to deliver, however the benefits for the children are enormous, and its pleasing to have the football club, and such a high profile player on board. I really feel this project will be a great success.”
Miss Nicola Booth, head of Gwladys Street School, said: “We are delighted that Everton in the Communit have joined with Gwladys Street Community Primary and Nursery School by using football as a tool to excite and stimulate the children to read for pleasure. It supports our school’s aims this year as we continue to create and inspire environments for learning. We know with this partnership the children will develop a love for reading and a lifelong skill.”
City of Readers is a project run by Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Learning Partnership and the Reader Organisation. More information can be found at http://www.cityofreaders.org/ or @livcityreaders.
Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers, according to new research from the Institute of Education (IOE).The IOE study, which is believed to be the first to examine the effect of reading for pleasure on cognitive development over time, found that children who read for pleasure made more progress in maths, vocabulary and spelling between the ages of 10 and 16 than those who rarely read.