Working in partnership with 14 SPFL clubs and local libraries, the 4-4-2 Reading Challenge will aim to inspire children aged 5-12 to read four books in exchange for match tickets.
The initiative centres on a reading “challenge card” which participating clubs and libraries will issue. For every book read, children will receive a stamp on their card. When they have read four books, participants will receive a FREE match ticket, while an accompanying adult will be able to purchase a discounted ticket.
In the first year of the project over 200 libraries were involved, across 11 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities. There were also more than 20,000 pupils taking part, across 87 schools, with 4,784 books being issued and 330 match tickets being allocated for books read.
Funding for the 4-4-2 Reading Challenge has been generously provided by the SPFL. In turn, the SPFL Trust, Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Library & Information Council embark on the second year of this initiative that aims to help children across the country. The project is including Gàidhlig translation for the first time, in partnership with Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
The project was launched at Thorn Primary School in Johnstone, where a class of children enjoyed an engaging storytelling session. They were joined by representatives of St Mirren Football Club for the special event.
SPFL Trust Chief Executive Nicky Reid said: “The 4-4-2 Reading Challenge initiative is designed to encourage children who don’t regularly visit the library or attend sport to do so. As such, we think it’s a real win-win opportunity for all concerned. I would like to thank the SPFL for their continued support in funding the project, which has engaged with more than twenty thousand kids in its first year, and we hope this can continue to grow and inspire children to read.”
Pamela Tulloch, chief executive at SLIC, said: “Reading for pleasure has a huge impact on the emotional wellbeing of people. For children and young people, reading regularly can help improve literacy and learning. But reading is an activity that must be practised, and we fully support initiatives that encourage children to read often and to explore various genre and material. This is where libraries offer a valuable service; they are welcoming, accessible and trusted spaces, where children can learn and grow their imagination with a range of reading activities. We hope the 4-4-2 Reading Challenge encourages more children to read more and to develop a long-term love of reading.”
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, a charity changing lives through reading and writing, said: “The 4-4-2 Reading Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to engage young readers, including reluctant readers, especially boys, who are more likely to drop reading for pleasure as they grow older. Not only does the challenge bring together communities, but it also supports local libraries and encourages young people to discover a new love of reading that can last a lifetime.”
David Boag, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Director of Language Planning and Community Developments added: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig is delighted to be supporting the 4-4-2 Reading Challenge to ensure that pupils with Gaelic can participate in this exciting initiative. The project supports the aim that Gaelic is used more often, by more people and in a wider range of situations and Bòrd na Gàidhlig looks forward to hearing about the positive outcomes that we are sure will be achieved by the young people taking part and in collaboration with football clubs across Scotland.”
SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster said: “The SPFL Trust’s 4-4-2 Reading Challenge has already made an extremely positive impact across the country. It’s encouraging to see so many children benefiting and I would like to congratulate the Trust and clubs from across all four SPFL divisions who are helping children develop a love for reading, which is an incredibly rewarding part of childhood.”
Clubs participating in the 4-4-2 Reading Challenge are: Arbroath, Ayr United, Brechin City, Dundee, Dundee United, East Fife, Forfar Athletic, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Montrose, Peterhead, Queen of the South, Ross County, St Mirren, Stirling Albion