On using the Rugby World Cup to inspire readers- A guest blog by Tom Palmer

The Rugby World Cup kicks off on 18th September. Because it is being played in England and Wales, the tournament will saturate the media and find its way to the children in your lives. If you like rugby, that’s great news. If you’re not hugely into rugby – or just don’t know much about it – it might not really matter to you.

But stop.

Some very good things could come out of this tournament. And I’m talking reading for pleasure things. If your children show signs of interest in the Rugby World Cup, in supporting one of the home nations, or a nation they have a link with, then there is a lot you might be able to do to exploit that and get them reading more.


I am writing a live action thriller story during the Rugby World Cup. Each cliff-hanging five-minute chapter will be written the night before publication, taking in events on and off the field. It will be published free on the England Rugby website every morning for read aloud sessions at school or bedtime stories at home.


I have worked with the RFU to create two free literacy resources that are designed for use in schools, but will have some relevance at home. There is Read Rugby, a toolkit of ideas for using the tournament to get children reading for pleasure. Also, l have written fifteen reading and writing drills, short exercises to help children with the nuts and bolts of writing and reading.


There are half a dozen Rugby World Cup guides in the bookshops and newsagents already. One is for kids specifically, published by Carlton Books. Another is in the form of a puzzle book. A great way of finding out both about the teams taking part and the nations they represent.


Visit your public library. Many libraries – especially in rugby areas – have rugby book displays on with the tournament approaching. There are books on players, how to play the game and kids’ fiction. (More of that later.) In the south west, they are running rugby writing workshops and have published a booklet of book tips under the heading Read XV.


Deliver a newspaper rugby supplement to your child’s room on Saturday or Sunday morning during the Rugby World Cup to get them reading previews, match reports and groundless speculation. Especially the day before or after a match they may have seen on TV.


Find a rugby book to read with the children together during the tournament. There are three 9+ children’s series about rugby. My Rugby Academy books, the Rugby Spirit books by Gerard Siggins and the Rugby Zombie books by Dan Anthony. Check them out and choose the right ones for you.


There are some decent rugby websites, many of which have interactive elements. Try www.bbc.co.uk/rugbyunion or www.englandrugby.com.


Follow my blog during the Rugby World Cup. I’ll be blogging about the games, my story and how I write it, as well as the tournament itself. It will be aimed at children.


If you are lucky – or rich – enough to have tickets for one of the matches, buy a match day programme as a memento of the game – but make sure everyone reads it. A creased and crumpled match programmes proves you were there.


Please tell your children’s teachers about all of the above, especially the free literacy resources I have / will be creating for the RFU.

Thank you for reading this. If you visit www.tompalmer.co.uk/rugby-world-cup-2015 you can find the relevant links to what I have mentioned above. And, enjoy the rugby. And the reading.


This guest post was provided by Tom Palmer. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.

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