"Free match tickets for kids who read"
Ross County FC, the SPFL Trust and Scottish Book Trust have teamed up to launch a pioneering pilot project, which aims to encourage kids to read.
The Staggies are working in partnership with 14 SPFL clubs and local libraries, to deliver the 4-4-2 Reading Challenge which aims to inspire children aged 5-12 to read four books in exchange for match tickets.
The initiative centres on a reading “challenge card” which participating clubs and libraries will issue. For every book read, children will receive a stamp on their card.
When they have read four books, participants will receive a FREE match ticket for a home league match Global Energy Stadium, while an accompanying adult will be able to purchase a discounted ticket.
Although this is a test project, over 200 libraries, marking more than half the estate in Scotland, will be involved, across 11 of Scotland’s thirty-two local authorities. The project could be extended to cover the whole country if the initiative is a winner.
Funding for the 4-4-2 Reading Challenge has been generously provided by the SPFL. In turn, the SPFL Trust and Scottish Book Trust have launched a partnership to deliver an initial three-month campaign.
The 4-4-2 Reading Challenge is underpinned by a beautifully crafted visual campaign, featuring the drawings of Edinburgh-based Danish illustrator Anders Frang.
SPFL Trust Chief Executive Nicky Reid comments:
“The 4-4-2 Reading Challenge initiative is designed to encourage children who don’t regularly visit the library or 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.”
Gordon Duff, Community Manager at RCFC adds:
We are delighted to be 1 of the 14 clubs taking park in this exciting pilot project. Sport as well as reading are both important for young people’s physical and mental health, as well as being fun and enjoyable. Reading can increase empathy, reduce stress and improve wellbeing. We will be rolling this out to headteachers across Ross-Shire and beyond in the coming weeks and will look to target over 3,000 kids over 21 schools.”
SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster says:
“The 4-4-2 Reading Challenge is another excellent initiative from the SPFL Trust that the SPFL is delighted to support. Learning to read is a cornerstone of every child’s upbringing and hopefully the reward of getting to a football match will encourage many of them to take up the challenge.”
Clubs participating in the 4-4-2 Reading Challenge are:
Annan Athletic FC
Dundee United FC
Forfar Athletic FC
Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC
Raith Rovers FC
Ross County FC
St Johnstone FC
Stirling Albion FC
WHY IS READING SO IMPORTANT?
Reading and writing transform lives.
Reading and writing are the most important factors in reducing the attainment gap, improve mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and dementia, and influence people’s work, relationships and the economy.
Inequality and Literacy
Mental Health Benefits
Scotland is facing a mental health and wellbeing crisis. One in three people suffer from mental illness each year, and the number of people with dementia is set to double in the next 25 years.
Reading and writing for pleasure has incredible benefits for mental health: