Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Football Academy

jacket image for Football Academy: Striking Out by Tom PalmerA big thumbs up to Tom Palmer's series Football Academy

Two months ago my 8 year old, Jo was a 'reluctant reader' (a wholly inadequate description of the tearful, stumbling, tortuous, monotonicity of his reading). 

Then his teacher introduced him to the Football Academy series. The books are actually slightly above his reading capabilities, however the 'real' characters and the exciting depictions of Jo's favourite thing in the world - football - have seen him asking to read extra pages and sneaking the books into bed at night to find out what happens next. 

In this series for 8-12 year olds Palmer doesn't shy away from 'difficult' issues: Yunis's Dad wants him to concentrate on school work, not football, Jake is worried that he is too small to be a professional and is bullied by Ryan, the team captain who has a nightmarish, pushy mother. 

After matches the manager's score sheet is reproduced. The boys are marked out of ten, a genius stroke that encourages discussion about how well each of the characters played and why the manager might have awarded them a particular score.

All I can say is hurrah for Tom Palmer (and of course that I knew I was right - everyone can love reading, it's just a matter of finding the right book).

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