Now Barton tells kids to get their teeth into Dracula

 

Joey Barton's love of Bram Stoker's Dracula and Paul Scharner's recommendation of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas stand out in a list of Premier League footballers' favoured reads. The recommendations – which cover a children's book as well as a read for adults, leading Theo Walcott to recommend T.J. and the Hat-Trick, by... Theo Walcott – have been made as part of the Premier League Reading Stars programme.

The programme, which is sponsored by the Arts Council and the National Lottery as well as the Premier League and which will be launched by Walcott and the Duchess of Cornwall at Emirates Stadium today, aims to encourage children to improve their literacy skills by emulating their footballing heroes. It was launched in 2003 and will work directly with 1,000 schools and libraries, reaching 30,000 children. Barton and Scharner's recommendations will presumably be appreciated by any parents hoping their children will, once grown up, aim higher than the ouevres of Dan Brown, Paulo Coelho and David Beckham.

Jonathan Douglas, the director of the National Literacy Trust, said: "Our research shows that a quarter of boys say that a sportsperson could inspire them to read. So getting footballers on board gives us a new and powerful strategy to get boys reading."

Each Premier League club has nominated a player as a "Reading Star", providing 40 recommendations for children to consider. The website www.premierleaguereadingstars.org.uk offers videos of the players setting literacy challenges and explaining why they picked their favourite books. Prizes are on offer for children who complete the challenges in question.

The Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said: "The success of Premier League Reading Stars in encouraging children to read over the last eight years underlines the wonderful power football has in engaging young people."

Familiar names among the players' recommendations include Roald Dahl, JK Rowling, and Julia Donaldson. In fairness to Walcott, two other players, Fulham's Mark Schwarzer and Stoke City's Carlo Nash, also recommend books they have (co)-written themselves. Schwarzer offers young readers Megs and the Vootball Kids; Nash's read for adults is Family Adventures in Style, written with his wife.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism