Roy of the Rovers publisher Rebellion and the National Literacy Trust (NLT) have teamed up to give away 5,000 copies of Roy of the Rovers: Foul Play and run an online football quiz for 15,000 children.
The 5,000 copies of the recently rebooted football comic will be distributed across seven of the charity’s key areas in the UK, where the need for additional literacy support is seen as particularly strong: Blackpool, Bradford, Doncaster, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Nottingham and the North Yorkshire Coast.
The intervention follows new research from the NLT which has revealed that just one in two (51.5%) children and young people aged between eight to 18 enjoy reading. While this represents an increase from January 2020, when the charity recorded its lowest ever levels of reading enjoyment (47.8%), it is lower than the percentage recorded during the spring lockdown in 2020 (55.9%).
Across the country, hundreds of primary schools and thousands of Key Stage 2 pupils are invited to a free online quiz from 10.30am to 11am on 21st October discussing the series and the Foul Play installment. The quiz is presented by BBC Match of the Day Magazine’s Jake Wilson and will feature authors Tom Palmer and Rob Williams.
Jim Sells, sport and literacy programme manager at the National Literacy Trust said: “The new research from the National Literacy Trust shows that a little over half of children enjoy reading. There are so many barriers that prevent children and young people from developing this life-enriching skill, ranging from a lack of access to reading materials to simply never connecting with a book that interests them. We hope the donation of 5,000 copies of a book that appeals to sports lovers will remove two of those barriers and spark a lifelong love of reading.
Chris Kingsley, Rebellion co-founder and chief technology officer, commented: "Roy of the Rovers has been a thrilling way into reading for generations of readers, not just in the UK but around the world. We are delighted that we can share Roy's themes of hard work, struggle and fair play with new readers in partnership with the National Literacy Trust. It is especially important where access to books can be difficult and for children whose footballing passion could be the key to opening up the world through reading."
This event is the latest in the long partnership between the publisher Rebellion, Palmer and the NLT—10,000 Roy of the Rovers books were donated to reluctant readers across the UK back in 2019. The football comic was rebooted the previous year, 23 years after it was last published.
Schools can register to take part in the quiz and for the chance to win a Melchester Rovers shirt and a complete set of signed books here.