Rugby League And The Reading Agency Join Forces To Champion Reading

Lifted from a press release about encouraging reading. This is something very close to my heart. I hate to hear people say, 'I don't read.'

'The Reading Agency is celebrating a major new partnership with the Rugby League World Cup in 2013, to promote and run its Six Book Challenge for less confident readers in locations used by rugby league fans.

Championing the drive to sign more readers up to the potentially life-changing benefits of enjoying reading is top rugby league player and England international Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who has become a Six Book Challenge ambassador.

On offer are specially branded materials featuring Jamie and his support for the Six Book Challenge. These equip public libraries, colleges, workplaces and prisons to take the Challenge to sports fans who might not otherwise pick up a book and enjoy it, in the run-up to the Rugby League World Cup 2013 international tournament this autumn. The materials include quotes from Jamie and book recommendations at all levels for rugby league enthusiasts.

Jamie only got into reading in his 20s and went on to take a degree in sports science at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is married with three children and reads to them regularly. He says:

"When I was young I used to see other people reading, especially girls, and I always wished I could read like that. But for me at that age it was futile - I would start reading something but I'd get to the end of the page and I'd have forgotten what I read.

"Now I read with my three sons as often as I can. I think it is important for them to have reading as something that happens regularly in their life and it's great when they come to me and say "Daddy I want a story." At their age they are like sponges and they soak so much up, so reading regularly is really important for them.

"My life is more rounded now because of reading. I take things from everything I read; each book is a new experience. My message to any rugby league fans out there thinking of signing up for the Six Book Challenge would be just give it a go. Don't be shy or embarrassed, even if you haven't read for a long time. No one will be judging you and it can only bring you good things."

The Six Book Challenge invites adult literacy learners and less confident readers to read six books and record their reading in a diary in order to receive a certificate.

The Six Book Challenge also has the full support of the organisers of the Rugby League World Cup 2013. "We're using this next major UK sporting event after the Olympics to inspire, motivate and educate as many people as possible," says Marketing Manager Mark Foster. "The Six Book Challenge is an important part of this." Organisations running the Six Book Challenge will have the opportunity to bid for events featuring the World Cup trophy and key players.'


Yes, my primary school teacher wife has said that the Harry Potter books put some children off reading because they couldn't cope with them. She had less able readers in her class struggling with these books because of peer pressure and their popularity.


It certainly does make sense to have some kind of checks in place - so that reluctant readers aren't put off for ever by tackling something completely unsuitable!! :-)

One would hope there is some kind of check. When my daughter was in primary school the local library ran such a challenge. After reading ten books she got a bronze certificate, fifteen silver, twenty gold, three hundred a world cruise for her and her family :). The library I know checked the child was reading books suitable for her, neither too easy or too hard. I would hope here something like this is in place.


I looked up the Six Book Challenge - and if I understood it correctly, then it seems that they aren't suggesting books that "should" be read. Merely asking participants to read six things! Seems a little vague to me - but I suppose it is a format that they have found to work well!

There was also a report a while ago - though I don't remember anything else about it (like who did it or where it was published etc!) - which said that one reason that boys read less than girls is because they are less interested in "stories" and that when they were provided with factual things to read they were far more interested and read far more!! I remember that at the time my son's favourite bed time book was called something like "Planes Trains and Automobiles" and it was a factual book - aimed probably at young teenagers (he had just started at primary school) but it described in detail things like how hovercraft worked, and how plane wings provide lift! He may not have been able to read it himself - but it was what he wanted to hear about!

Maybe a two pronged attack - fathers reading to sons, and the provision of factual books that boys tend to be more interested in - might work well! :-)

No but their dads might.

Wonderful book, wonderful film. Loved both. I'm not sure children would see it in the way we do.


A few years ago there was a good documentary on the BBC. A primary school was shown to have a complete difference between the reading skills of girls and boys. Girls were much better, because their mothers read. It was realised that the boys were emulating their fathers who didn't read. Basically a programme was put in place to encourage the fathers to read.The boys also began reading more and there was an improvement in their reading skills. I assume this is the idea re: reading as outlined above, between the rugby league and reading agency.


Perhaps a start for this scheme would be David Storey's novel "This Sporting Life" (1960) which is about the life of a Rugby League player. Also made into a brilliant film by Lindsay Anderson.

What a good idea. I hope that it will help those who are reluctant readers to participate! Have they announced what books the challenge includes - I presume they have sourced books that are likely to appeal to Rugby League fans! I wonder what other sporting events could be used in a similar way to encourage reading!