Doncaster Knights inspire readers
Posted 14 Aug 2013 by Tom Palmer
The best attended event of my Try Reading tour so far was in Doncaster. I was there to work with Doncaster Libraries, who do great work in promoting reading to families in the town. They have a literacy team that devises interesting ways for children to meet authors.
This was one of those interesting ways. Because the event was not at the library: it was at a rugby club. Doncaster Knights.
Forty kids came in to hear me talk. Pink-faced. Sweating. They'd been playing rugby. Part of a week-long summer school they all seemed to be enjoying.
I did my usual Rugby Reading Game. Except it wasn't the usual one. Because the rugby coaches who had got the kids pink-faced and sweating came and listened too. And they didn't just listen.
Part of my Rugby Reading Game is asking the children what they like to read in newspapers, magazines and books. Having the coaches there was great because they told the children what sections of the newspaper they liked (sport, travel, horoscopes), which magazines they enjoy (Rugby World and Rugby League World amongst them) and also the books they read, which included lots of great rugby autobiographies.
It is a powerful thing to see young boys and girls hearing their idols, these rugby coaches who they so obviously idolised, talking about reading and how it gives them pleasure. The few words from the coaches may well lodge in the minds of those children and make them into passionate readers.
That is one example of an effective library service working with a partner to deliver a half-decent author event to children who might never see an author or - more importantly - hear their rugby coaches speaking passionately about reading.
A good afternoon. A great job from the library service and the rugby club.