Book your ticket to the match by completing this reading challenge

A new reading challenge involving football has been launched to encourage children to pick up a book in exchange for free match day tickets. 

Scottish Book Trust is working with the Scottish Premier and Football League Trust (SPFL) to launch the 4-4-2 reading challenge. This will see 14 football clubs across the nation work with libraries to promote reading.

The Chief Executive Officer Nicky Reid of the Scottish Premier and Football League Trust has sought funding and support from Scotland’s professional football clubs to increase children’s literacy, library use and community engagement. They believe working with public libraries is the perfect way to achieve this. In Aberdeenshire the council has joined forces with Peterhead FC to encourage more children to read.

Children aged between 6 and 12 will be challenged to borrow and read four books from their local library. They will exchange their completed challenge cards at Peterhead FC for a free child ticket and half-price adult ticket at any home game during the 2017/18 Scottish football season.  

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “I am thrilled that Aberdeenshire Council’s libraries will be supporting such a worthwhile initiative. Reading improves the mind whilst football encourages exercise and develops teamwork and leadership skills. I hope that young people from across Aberdeenshire get reading and enjoy cheering on Peterhead FC.”

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 participate in sport to do so. As such, we think it’s a real win-win opportunity for all concerned. Although this is a pilot project, we have high hopes that it can be a hugely successful programme, and so we are grateful to the SPFL for their support to allow us to kick-off.”

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, a charity changing lives through reading and writing, said: “Taking part in sport and reading are both important for young people’s physical and mental health.  As well as being fun, reading for pleasure can increase empathy, reduce stress and improve wellbeing, while all the research shows that children who read for pleasure also tend to do better at school.  We’re delighted to work with the SPFL to use sport to encourage a love of reading in Scotland’s children.”

The materials should be available at Aberdeenshire Libraries later this month. The 4-4-2 Reading Challenge runs until Saturday, May 19.