Football is helping to kick-start a love of reading among schoolboys.

Ladybridge High School has launched the Premier League Reading Stars 2012 programme to show boys reading is both fun and educational — and footballers they admire do it too!

Every year players from all 20 Premier League clubs use their status to help children improve their literacy skills.

This year, as part of the scheme, the footballers have set literacy challenges, and talk about their favourite books, sharing their love of reading online on the new premierleaguereadingstars. Bolton Wanderers midfielder Stuart Holden is taking part in the national campaign.

The American says his favourite book is The Twits by Roald Dahl.

The National Literacy Trust programme is designed to help primary and secondary school pupils who need a little extra coaching to up their game when it comes to picking up a book.

At Ladybridge a group of boys are not only learning how interesting reading from their favourite players — they also get to play football at half-time.

English teacher Daniel Joseph said: “The PE department and the English department have linked up to run this scheme for boys.

“As well as engaging pupils by linking with PE, the sessions also promote healthy bodies, healthy minds.” During the 10-week programme, boys take part on the online challenges, and to choose a book to read.

They have to read a certain number of chapters before discussing the book.

Boys of all years take part in the weekly sessions to help them achieve the learning goals expected of them.

Year Nine pupil, Shane Byrom, aged 14, is reading ‘El Diego’ by Diego Maradona.

He said: “I am hoping being a part of the Premier League Reading Stars programme will improve my reading and writing and improve my English grades.

“This is very important because I start GCSE next year and I know how important a good grade in English is.”

Isa Toorawa, aged 12 and in Year Seven, is reading “There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom” by Louis Sachar.

He said: “I hope to meet some footballers, learn some new words and make reading one of my new hobbies.”

The scheme was launched in 2003 and more than 100 footballers have taken part.

Previous Wanderers reading stars have included Paul Robinson, Kevin Davies and Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Of the youngsters who have taken part in previous years, 96 per cent say they will read more regularly because of participating in the project and 71 per cent say they now read more because they know that footballers read.