A Love of Literacy with Tottenham Hotspur’s Ben Davies

Primary Times talks with footballer Ben Davies about the importance of encouraging children’s literacy skills and his work with the Premier League Primary Stars and the National Literacy Trust

Professional footballer and keen reader Ben was recently involved in a very special masterclass, held at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium with Premier League Primary Stars and the National Literacy Trust.

Premier League Primary Stars is the Premier League's free primary school education programme that uses the appeal of football to help pupils aged 5-11 to develop essential life skills. All of their resources, from PE, PSHE, Maths and English, are available free to every primary school in England and Wales.

Premier League Primary Stars and the National Literacy Trust recently partnered to develop a comprehensive resource - Premier League Magazine Team - especially for KS2 pupils. The aim is to build pupils’ enjoyment in English lessons as well as their key literacy skills, getting them to create their own magazine using the key components of writing success: audience and purpose.

The workshop with Tottenham defender, Ben Davies, focused on interviewing skills and celebrated the work that the pupils have been doing as part of the fantastic Premier League Magazine Team resource. We asked Ben a few questions to find out more...

Can you tell us about the workshop and how you found it taking part?

The workshop was very good. All the kids had been practising their interviewing skills and they all had an opportunity to ask a question which was really fun. It was a good opportunity for them to pick up some new skills. Most of the questions were about football but one child did ask me if I could scoff a hot dog in 30 seconds! They were all very excited in the class and doing some excellent work.

Do you enjoy reading yourself?

I’ve always enjoyed reading. I do enjoy sitting down and reading a book, I find it very relaxing.

With the work that the Premier League Primary Stars, the National Literacy Trust and the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation do, what’s your favourite thing about being involved in this project?

All three do incredibly important work and we’re lucky that we’ve got the stadium here to host the local schoolchildren and give them these opportunities – you never know what lasting impact it might have on each one of these kids. Reading isn’t just about homework and people in all walks of life can really enjoy reading a book. Seeing where your imagination goes with a book can be very beneficial.

Would you say it’s rewarding, being in this position to encourage the younger generation to develop their literacy skills?

For sure, it’s something that I enjoy doing. I like just chilling out with a book sometimes and it’s good to encourage kids to look at it from that aspect too. It’s something that can stick with you through life if you get a good start on it.

With the opportunities that the Premier League Primary Stars and the National Literacy Trust provide, do you think you would have enjoyed these initiatives and found them useful when you were at school?

Definitely, it’s something we were all encouraged to do at school. To approach this different side of literacy and journalistic skills might have been a bit out of my comfort zone but it’s the perfect opportunity for some of these kids to have that chance now, and it might even be a career path that they end up going down.

Is using the power of football and young people’s interests a good way to hopefully inspire even more children?

Football has such a big voice and especially at a club like Spurs where we can have such a big impact not just in the local community but worldwide. This kind of initiative is encouraging and I think it will reach a lot of people and hopefully have an impact on a lot of kids going forward. It’s something that I’m definitely happy to help out with because I think it’s a very worthwhile cause.

Premier League Primary Stars reached more than 1.1 million pupils in 2023. Find out how you can get involved at: https://bit.ly/47zMLwC

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