Stoke City star Phil Bardsley swapped his boots for books when he helped launch a literacy project for primary school children.
The “Stoke’s Premier League Reading Stars” project, launched at Stoke City’s youth academy, aims to encourage children’s enjoyment of literacy across the city.
Year 4 youngsters from seven partner schools were invited on a tour of Britannia Stadium, to enjoy playing some football, and to meet a Stoke City player.
The project has been organised by Warren Leat, 40, Stoke City’s school sports manager.
He said: “We have invited a number of our key partner schools down to celebrate the fact literacy is important for school work.
“But it is also to emphasise the fact that children will use literacy in the world and relate it to the classroom.”
Defender Bardsley said: “Coming round to see these kids doing a bit of reading and writing and giving them the day they have had today is vital.”
He was also quick to point out how important literacy is to him and his children.
“It is vital to do the homework for the reading and writing on the night-time.
“The reading helps settle them down a little bit as well, my children are quite hyper!
“But they really enjoy it.”
Pupils from Norton Primary Academy, Whitfield Valley Primary Academy, Newstead Primary Academy, Picknalls First School, Ellison Primary School, Hastle County Primary School and Harpfield Primary Academy who attended also received football tips from Stoke City coaches.
Emma McCutcheln, 35, a teaching assistant at Newstead Primary Academy, said: “It helps the children to understand why they need to read and why they need to spell words correctly, the fun activities encourage the children to produce good pieces of work.”
Watch StaffsLive’s video of the project launch, below:
(Additional reporting by Dan Bates)