New research shows that 3 in 10 children see footballers as role models as Marcus Rashford Book Club engages 25,000 children to inspire a love of reading


New research from the National Literacy Trust finds that 3 in 10 (29.8%) children and young people see footballers as role models, rising to almost 1 in 2 (45.8%) of boys, with over a third (35.5%) of children saying that seeing a role model read would make them want to read more. With almost a quarter of children saying they have no one that inspires them to read and with children’s reading enjoyment at an all-time low, the Marcus Rashford Book Club project is more important than ever.

“Marcus Rashford is a true inspiration for children. He and other footballers are crucial to reaching children and young people who aren’t engaging with the more familiar reading role models of teachers and parents,” says National Literacy Trust’s Chief Executive Jonathan Douglas. “It’s alarming to see that a quarter of children say they don’t have anyone who inspires them to read and act as a reading role model. That’s why it’s so brilliant that Marcus Rashford, a role model for so many children, is championing the joys of reading and that the Book Club continues the National Literacy Trust’s work in finding the places and spaces that children love to be in – on the football pitch! – and bringing reading to them.”

The Marcus Rashford Book Club, a partnership between the National Literacy Trust, Macmillan Children’s Books, and KPMG, picks accessible books that appeal to a wide range of young readers and has so far gifted more than 200,000 copies to encourage reading for enjoyment. Reading for enjoyment is associated with higher literacy levels as children who enjoy reading are three times more likely to read above the expected level for their age group, which in turn is linked to not just success at school, but better job opportunities, higher earnings, and better physical and mental health throughout their adult lives.

The best-selling The 13-Storey Treehouse, written by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton, has been chosen by the Marcus Rashford Book Club for this October and 25,000 copies will be gifted to children in schools with the lowest levels of literacy and the highest rates of poverty, alongside classroom activities specially designed to encourage a culture of reading in the classroom.

Andy Griffiths comments: “I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by books with reading being modelled by my parents as a very natural and pleasurable way to spend time. I’m aware however, that not all children have such easy access to books which is why I’m so happy for The 13-Storey Treehouse to be included in the Marcus Rashford Book Club. I’m passionate about the power of reading to change lives and the more books that young readers can get their hands on, the more lives can be changed!”

Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, MD Macmillan Children’s Books says: “Marcus Rashford speaks to children and young people in such a powerful way and it is clear that they listen to him. Marcus gives his readers permission to focus on their dreams; he is both aspirational and inspirational. The Marcus Rashford Book Club has reached hundreds of thousands of children since its launch in 2021 and, through our partnership with the National Literacy Trust and KPMG, we are now able to donate more books to those who need them the most. We are delighted to embark on this new stage in the campaign together this autumn.”  

The 13-Storey Treehouse is the first in the multi-award-winning Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton that has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Full of slapstick humour and a laugh-out-loud combination of text and cartoon-style illustrations, this book has been picked for the Marcus Rashford Book Club for its easy-to-read style and accessibility, and its side-splitting humour that will engage even the most reluctant of readers.

Rachel Hopcroft CBE, Partner and Head of Corporate Affairs at KPMG in the UK, said:

“Alongside numeracy and lifelong learning, literacy is one of the major building blocks of social mobility, and yet 1 in 8 children don’t have a single book at home. As a firm, KPMG UK is committed to improving social mobility, working with our local communities and partners to raise skills and aspirations. We’re thrilled to be working alongside Marcus Rashford, Pan Macmillan and the National Literacy Trust, helping more children experience the joy of reading while also building a fairer and more equal society for all.”

For more information about the Marcus Rashford Book Club, please visit marcus-rashford-book-club/

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