Using Football to Promote Reading

Football and Reading: not usually considered the best of friends. But as Danny Scott, author and football fan, pointed out in his recent article in The Guardian – maybe they should be:

Books train your brain to think faster, harder and smarter. They will help you spot patterns where others see chaos. Reading about characters with different views on life than your own will help you get the most out of talented teammates who others have given up on. Who knows, reading might just give you the edge you need to reach the top…”

You can also read Danny’s guest blog on how reading makes you better at football.

So, here is a selection of football titles to ensure that young readers can give their brains a bit of a work out while feeding their passion for the Beautiful Game. For more football titles please see our Football booklist.

Books for Younger Readers

calums new teamWe’ll start with Danny’s own series Scotland Stars FC, featuring the trials and tribulations of Calum Ferguson as he struggles to fit in to a new town and secure his place on the school football team. There are three books in the series, with another three to follow in the autumn. Ideal for newly developing readers (6+).

great save

Great Save
by Rob Childs – The first in a series of 4 football stories aimed at new readers by one of the established masters of football stories (5+)


the story of football
The Story of Football
– A lively history of football from its beginnings in the Roman Army to the modern day premiership. Perfect for readers who are developing a bit more confidence and who prefer facts and figures to fiction. (6+)


Books for Older Readers

Theo Walcott certainly knows a thing or two about playing football. He has used his own experience to create a well-received series of stories for other football fans aged 7+.
Good on detail, nicely written with a light humorous touch, Theo shows as sure a foot in print as on the pitch.” Julia Eccleshare.

fitter funnier faster football
Fitter, Faster, Funnier Football
by Michael Cox is packed with hilarious, weird and just plain silly facts from football’s history. Did you know that a goalie once dropped a bottle of after-shave on his foot, injuring it so badly that he was forced to miss an entire World Cup? Joe Hart take note! (9+)

jake cake
Another humorous entry is Jake Cake: The Football Beast by Michael Broad. Jake Cake is the star of several books, but in this one he meets Bigfoot, the football beast, who, amongst other things, helps him become a better football player. (8+)


county cup Rob Childs is the author of several best-selling football series. The County Cup is a 7-story series that follows the fortunes of the school football teams competing in Medland County’s most prestigious tournament as they work their way through the round-robin stages to the semi-finals and then the Final. (9+)

foul playWhat do you get if you mix football with a pinch of Sherlock Holmes and a dash of a young James Bond? The answer is Foul Play – the first in a series of football detective stories by Tom Palmer, official writer for The Premier League Reading Stars scheme. (11+)
“…scores with the precision of a Ronaldo free kick” Sunday Times

pro footballer

For anyone dreaming of making it into football’s big time, Being a Pro Footballer tells you just what is required. (9+)


the war game
This July not only sees the climax of the Euros, it will also mark the Centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. Terry Deary’s The War Game, tells the story of that famous Christmas football match, when German and British soldiers put down their guns for a brief respite from the horrors of trench warfare. (8+)

The National Literacy Trust has created a toolkit of ideas and resources for teachers that combines this important historic anniversary and Euro 2016. For more information visit Euro 2016 and Battle of the Somme Literacy Toolkit.

Happy Reading!

Sian and Bron

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