TENNIS PROS STAR IN LITERACY CAMPAIGN
By Rosamond Hutt, Community Newswire
EDUCATION Literacy, 07 Jul 2006 - 16:58
Tennis pros are the stars of a charity campaign encouraging children to read more books, it was revealed today.
Players including Tim Henman, Venus Williams and Lleyton Hewitt are the latest in a line of sporting celebrities to promote reading.
They have joined cricketers, rugby players, footballers, wrestlers and a basketball star to discuss their favourite books for the National Literary Trust's Reading Champions campaign.
The trust is hoping children will be persuaded to get into the habit of reading for pleasure by their sporting role models.
Tim Henman said he often reads to his daughters, Lleyton Hewitt's favourite children's title is an Australian book called "Possum Magic" by Mem Fox, while Kim Clijsters and Martina Hingis nominated the Harry Potter series.
Ivan Ljubicic named Croatian author Ivan Kusan as his favourite children's writer.
Maria Sharapova, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis all enjoyed best-selling author Dan Brown's thrillers "Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons".
Venus Williams, who chose "Charm School" by Susan Wiggs as her preferred read, said: "Reading is very important. I always have a book with me. It opens my mind, it strengthens my vocabulary, it's fun. You read about things that don't happen in real life."
Katy Hamlin, manager of the trust's Study Support Centre, said: "We're thrilled that such elite players value reading and have taken time to support this scheme.
"Having reading role models is really important for young people and it's so encouraging to know that our pupils may be motivated to pick up a new book and share the reading experience of a world-class tennis player."
Neil McClelland, the trust's director, said: "Sports stars can have a tremendous influence on people's attitudes.
"By encouraging young people to view reading as a champion's pastime, these players are helping to inspire young people to become readers."
The National Literacy Trust is the only organisation concerned with raising literacy standards for all age groups throughout the UK. For more information visit www.literacytrust.org.uk