Children’s author Tom Palmer gave a series of talks designed to boost boys’ interest in reading and writing across Erewash

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Children’s author Tom Palmer gave a series of talks designed to boost boys’ interest in reading and writing across Erewash.

Many of the books that Tom has written have a sporting theme and he delivered sessions to more than 140 pupils from 22 schools in the borough.

The talks were were organised by Erewash School Sport Partnership in a bid to improve literacy amongst boys through sport.

Tom talked to pupils about his career and how he writes a story before conducting a quiz, a penalty shoot-out and taking questions.

He is the author of three Puffin fiction stories for children including Football Academy; Foul Play and The Squad.

Rhian Lilley, development manager at the partnership, said she was thrilled with the boys’ reactions to Tom.

She said: “It’s been great to see so many schools here and engaging with a project that links English and literacy to sport. It just shows that sport can be a big influence on a child’s life and not just through participation. Hopefully the boys who have attended these sessions will be great advocates and take what they have learnt back into the classroom and share it with their friends.”

Tom said he thought the sessions went extremely well.

He said: “The sessions have been great and I think it’s really important to get boys involved in literacy and the best way to do it is through something that they enjoy, like sport.”

Elizabeth Stanley-Wainwright, head teacher at Stanley St Andrew’s Primary School, in Ilkeston, said the talks had inspired her to think about teaching in different ways.

She said: “I think it’s been brilliant and it has really made me think about making sure that I have more reading materials in school and maybe introducing a magazine subscription too.

“I think it’s really inspired the boys we have brought here and their questions and reactions have shown me that they do have a deep understanding and it’s about how we can unlock that in school. It’s certainly made me think about teaching in a different way.”

Faith Dyer, class teacher and PE co-ordinator at Ashbrook Junior School, in Borrowash, said her pupils thoroughly enjoyed listening to Tom

She said: “This is just a great way to engage boys with literacy through sport, which is something that a lot of them are interested in and are already enjoying.

“I think these sessions will be really beneficial and inspire the boys when they go back into school.”

Benjamin Broderick, 10, of Chaucer Junior School, in Ilkeston, said: “It’s been amazing and we’ve done some really cool things, like the penalty shoot-out, I love reading and I write a lot too.”

Schools who attended the sessions at Friesland School in Sandiacre included; Ashbrook Junior, in Borrowash; Chaucer Junior, Stanley St Andrew’s, Field House Infant, Hallam Fields Junior, all in Ilkeston; Dallimore Primary, in Kirk Hallam; Scargill Primary, in West Hallam; St Laurence Primary, Grange Primary, Parklands Infant and Junior, English Martyrs’ Catholic Primary, all in Long Eaton; Cotmanhay Infant and Junior; Sawley Infant and Shardlow Primary. The Secondary schools in attendance were Friesland School, Kirk Hallam Community Academy, The Long Eaton School, Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy and Wilsthorpe School.