sport

Lampard inspires youth to read

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has encouraged more parents to take time to read with their children as part of the launch of the 11th year of the National Literacy Trust's Premier League Reading Stars programme.

Lampard, who has his own series of children's football books, was speaking at the launch which uses children's passion of football to motivate them to enjoy reading.

The 35-year-old joined 30 children aged 9-11 from local schools in a football literacy quiz at Stamford Bridge to mark the event and there was also a chance to fire questions on reading and football at Lampard and Richard Scudamore, the Chief Executive of the Premier League.

The 10-week programme supports over 30,000 children in 1,000 schools and libraries, and research concluded three out of four pupils made six months' to a year's progress in reading by the time the programme finished.

The scheme is supported by the England midfielder who believes too many young people get distracted by computers and television and underestimate the importance of reading.

"Reading should be a pleasure no matter what age you are, and Premier League Reading Stars is a proven way of getting children to enjoy books," he said.

"It's very easy for young people to get distracted by computer games and television but the importance of getting children to enjoy reading was the inspiration behind my own books.

"Whether you're reading with your kids or just enjoying a good book on your own it's a wonderful experience and one of life's great pleasures."

In the programme each Premier League club selects one player to become a Reading Star to talk about their favourite books and set reading challenges via online videos.

And it is this incorporation of footballers into the scheme which has proved successful as nearly nine out of 10 pupils said they read more because they know Premier League footballers read too.

The list of favourite books included Aston Villa's Jed Steer who said his favourite children's book was The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein while Lampard chose Ratburger by David Walliams.