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Rugby Reading Champions meet author

More than 60 Leicestershire primary school pupils enjoyed a day out at Welford Road stadium as part of the club’s Rugby Reading Champions programme.

Having teamed up with The National Literacy Trust and Try for Change, the club delivers a free ten-week programme to year five and six pupils encouraging them to pick up books and enjoy reading.

Youngsters from All Saints, Blaby Stokes, Charnwood, Gaddesby Primary Schools were invited to the home of Leicester Tigers to meet the author of the programme’s books as well as a tag rugby session.

Splitting into groups, children’s author Tom Palmer, who’s book ‘Combat Zone’ is read by students taking part in the initiative, hosted an interactive quiz testing the pupils reading knowledge. 

From newspaper clippings, to questions about his book, to different reading and writing skills, each team then had the chance to kick a conversion for each point their team had scored. 

Tigers rugby development coach Laurence Walters, who delivers the sessions in schools, also took groups onto the nearby Nelson Mandela Park for a tag rugby session. 

He said: “Having started the programme in November 2018, we wanted to host an event to mark the children’s great efforts across the year. 

“Rugby Reading Champions has been well received with the kids, teachers and parents and we’ve seen improvements in their reading as well as learning rugby values.

“The great news is we will be delivering the initiative in eight more schools next year with players with plans to involve more rugby clubs and more schools in the future.

We also caught up with Ollie, ten years old and Brooke, nine years old from Blaby Stokes Primary School.

Ollie said: “I like rugby and read five times a week for school, so I was really excited to be doing both of things I like. Adventure book are my favourite and I like picking up the rugby ball and running for the line.”

Brooke add: “I’ve enjoyed it so far. I don’t play rugby but do dancing and gymnastics. I’ve heard all about the Tigers and Laurence has been a really good teacher for us. I read lots out of school and my favourite are the Harry Potter books.”

Matt Clarke, lead PE teacher at Blaby Stokes, added: “We’re a big rugby school spend and Laurence has been involved with school over the years, so we were excited with his offer to get involved with Rugby Reading Champions.”

“Reading outside of school is something we are trying to improve as a school anyway. We’ve found it’s all about engaging with them and Laurence has done a fantastic job in delivering something they enjoy.”

Louise Cooper, a teaching assistant for year five pupils at All Saints Primary, added: “My group was put forward and they have really enjoyed the time out in smaller groups. It gives them more time to take in what they are reading and now they are swapping books and recommending books which is fantastic.” 

Find out more about getting involved with Rugby Reading Champions at the link below, or by contacting Laurence Walters at [email protected]