Bookworms and rugby league enthusiasts are being urged by Bolton Council to give reading a try this summer.
The council is one of 30 local authorities signed up to the Try Reading project, led by library services in the North West in the build up to the Rugby League World Cup 2013 in October.
Bolton Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Councillor Christopher Peacock, believes combining sport and reading is an innovative way to get youngsters involved.
“The Try Reading project is a fantastic way of encouraging people of all ages to take an interest in reading and also raises the profile of the biggest sporting tournament of the year,” he said.
“Not many people would associate sport with literature, but the activities planned over the summer are fun and innovative ways of combining the two.
“Bolton’s library service has lots of activities planned over the summer to link in with the Try Reading project and Rugby League World Cup 2013, so there will be plenty of opportunities for people to join in.”
The project includes author talks, writing workshops, drama events, reporting live games and creating a welcome ‘haka’ for visiting teams.
Leigh Centurions RLFC got the ball rolling by paying a visit to Westhoughton High School, Bolton, in an attempt to get pupils to sign up to the official Six Book Challenge – those who can read six boks over the summer will receive a certificate.
“The players from Leigh Centurions have agreed to take up the Six Book Challenge along with the pupils and I’m sure rugby league will gain a few new followers as a result,” added Mr Peacock.
Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley feels proud for the club to be supporting the initiative and believes reading is important for children of all ages.
“Reading is a great way for young people to use their imagination in a stimulating way, and experience adventures that they otherwise wouldn’t,” he said.
“Becoming immersed in a book can provide a great means of escape from the pressures of everyday life, and it’s important that kids receive the best possible opportunity to enjoy the wonders of literature.”
On Tuesday, Urmston Library will host some Rugby league experts, giving children a chance to quiz their favourite commentators and journalists.
The Independent’s Dave Hatfield, Phil Caplan, founder of the Rugby League Paper, and Tony Hannan, writer of several books, will all be present.
The Try Reading project is funded by Arts Council England in partnership with The Reading Agency and Rugby League World Cup 2013.
Bolton will be hosting the Fijian team as they train in the town prior to their fixtures.