Frank Lampard will champion The Summer Reading Challenge this year. As a father of two, footballer Frank Lampard is very much aware of the importance of child literacy. As he launches his new children's book series Frankie's Magic Football Lampard is pledging his support for the Summer Reading Challenge, in an effort to inspire more families and boys to read.
Frank Lampard says: "I'm proud to be a champion for this year's Summer Reading Challenge, and that Frankie's Magic Football is included on the books to read list. Reading with my children is incredibly important to me and a wonderful way to spend time together as a family, exploring magical worlds, through books and stories. I hope that many boys, and girls, will be inspired this summer to take up the Summer Reading Challenge and enjoy all of the brilliant books available to them at their local library."
Frank's support will be particularly important in inspiring boys at primary school to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge. There is long-standing concern about boys' reading, explored in depth by the National Literacy Trust's 2012 Boys Reading Commission. 76% of UK schools say boys are not doing as well as girls in reading. Boys' attitudes towards reading, the amount of time they spend reading and their achievements in literacy are all poorer than girls. By the time of GCSEs the gender gap in achievement is 14%. Across OECD countries, 52% of 15 year old boys read for enjoyment, compared to 73% of girls (according to PISA studies), and this gap is widening.
Evidence shows that boys respond well to reading materials that emphasise their interests, and to positive male role models who encourage reading. Frank Lampard's high profile and footballing track record makes him an ideal champion for the Summer Reading Challenge. He is vice-captain for Chelsea FC, the club's highest scorer of all time and an England international player.
Last year 4,382 young volunteers aged 11 to 24 applied to help out with the Summer Reading Challenge and gain valuable new skills and experiences for their CVs. The endorsement of a football hero will encourage many more young men to get involved.
Miranda McKearney says: "What a thrill, to have Frank Lampard become a champion for the Summer Reading Challenge in libraries. We need new approaches to crack society's literacy problems and help boys feel differently about reading. The combination of Lampard's celebrity involvement with the freedom and fun of the Challenge will be extremely powerful."
Frank Lampard's own book Frankie vs the Pirate Pillagers, which is the first in a new series, appears on this year's Creepy House themed book list which offers age-appropriate suggestions of what to read. Lampard is also one of six authors who have contributed an exclusive story to the Summer Reading Challenge website for children to add to, in the popular Finish The Story, Share the Glory competition that launched last year.
From 13 July, children can sign up to the Summer Reading Challenge at their local library (earlier in Scotland). They can log on to the Summer Reading Challenge website to chat, take part in competitions and find new books using the book sorter.
Parents, carers and grandparents can keep up to date with news from the Summer Reading Challenge on our facebook page.
Watch Frank Lampard talk about being a Summer Reading Challenge Champion on ITV's This Morning on 6 June (at about 7 minutes into the interview).
This year we're running a donations campaign to help bring the Summer Reading Challenge to more disadvantaged children. It only costs £3 for three disadvantaged children to take part in the Challenge for free. Please donate £3 to our campaign by texting READ06 £3 to 70070 or by visiting justgiving.com/SummerReadingChallenge.