14/08/2014 16:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Footballers Inspire Children To Enjoy Reading

Footballers' partnership with National Literacy Trust's reading scheme hailed a success

The National Literacy Trust has said that a campaign it launched based around Premier League footballers has been a huge success and had a dramatic effect on children's reading habits.

The Premier League Reading Stars scheme was launched in January 2012 and was endorsed by footballers such as Theo Walcott and Clint Dempsey.

The Trust says that the figures show that the 34,000 participating pupils were inspired to read more by their sporting heroes.

It found that 75 per cent of pupils made six months' to a year's progress in reading in just 10 weeks because of the scheme, while a staggering 75 per sent said they now read more because they know that footballers do.

The campaign is also said to have encouraged 49 per cent of children to join their local library, while the 35 per cent who were already library users are now more frequent visitors.

A massive 60 per cent of the children are now also choosing to read more in their own time.

The scheme was launched to target schools who were not reaching the national average in literacy, as well as those who had pupils from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Children who took part in the programme were compared with a group of youngsters who were similarly disadvantaged but who did not participate in the scheme. It was found that 10 times as many children who took part in the programme made progress in reading.

The scheme involved visits to schools by authors and literacy challenges set Premier League football players.

The reading challenges are online for children to use at home or at school.