Combining sport, exercise and literacy with The FA

Using the power of stories to engage girls in physical exercise.

The Football Association have thoroughly enjoyed working in partnership with the National Literacy Trust for a number of years to create inspiring joint opportunities for children, young people, families and communities to build on their passion for football and literacy. We work on the premise that we can complement our strengths together to create strong and lasting outcomes for all.

FA Writing Challenges — The SSE Women’s FA Cup

Recently we teamed up on an exciting project to create a series of writing challenges based around The SSE Women’s FA Cup. The free FA Writing Challenges used the power of football to encourage pupils to write for enjoyment and improve engagement and participation with literacy and girls’ and women’s football.

Aimed at both boys and girls, pupils were challenged to write inspirational speeches, poems and newspaper articles. Each challenge was introduced by an inspirational video from top international female players in The FA Women’s Super League.

The three challenges were accompanied by a resource for teachers which provided supporting activities, tips on how to engage their pupils and highlight how the challenges can be used to deliver statutory requirements of the National Curriculum.

The competition was a success with over 100 schools entering and 200 children attending the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final to celebrate the project.

Active Literacy — through storytelling

Another new project we have been working on together, called ‘Active Literacy — through storytelling’, is designed specifically to support five to eight-year-old girls. Research indicates that it’s vital for girls who are just discovering the world of sport to feel more confident and competent first, in order to participate fully in physical activity.

This research also indicates that developing fundamental movement skills is crucial before considering introducing a football. Our joint programme works to engage girls in meaningful physical activity that captures their imagination through fun engaging activities delivered through stories.

Three stories have been developed for the pilot scheme: Space Pirates, Jungle Trek and Euro Carnival. Each story has four parts to it, delivered in short sessions of 10 to 15 minutes on the playground at lunchtimes, over a termly period.

The resources have been designed to be used by a range of partners including the school lunchtime supervisors, teachers, coaches, Year 5 and 6 pupils or students from local schools, colleges or universities. Each girl participating also receives a booklet for each of the three stories to use at home with their parent or carer, to continue to develop their physical activity skills, as well as their speaking and listening skills.

Find out more about the National Literacy Trust’s work with the FA or read more about the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge.

Karl Lines, ‎International Relations Manager at The FA.

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