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Premier League

Enhancing Reading Skills through Reading Stars

Now in its sixth year, Premier League Primary Stars (PLPS), a Premier League-funded programme, is designed to use the power of football to engage pupils in primary schools across the country.

Part of the PLPS curriculum, Premier League Reading Stars aims to increase engagement and progress levels in reading for Year 5 and 6. The sessions, give pupils the opportunity to practise their reading skills, including comprehension and inference, using football-related resources and texts.

One of our many pupils engaging in this initiative with our PLPS coach Zeshan is Derry, who has improved massively since he started.


His journey began with short one-on-one reading sessions, during which he discovered the benefits of personalised attention, immediate feedback leading to enhanced confidence. This enabled Derry to focus on how to personally read books better rather than in a group setting. Derry then transitioned into group Reading Stars sessions, where he engaged in open discussions about his recent reading choices and collaborates with his peers to support one another’s reading journeys.

Unlike reading to a teacher, the relationship Derry built with Zeshan over the one-to-one sessions allowed for a more relaxed environment to read. This personalised approach allows him to express his reading interests openly, rather than focusing strictly to the curriculum. This unique approach builds a sense of autonomy and self-expression in Derry’s reading journey. An avid reader of educational books, Derry’s current reading habit lies in football and autobiographical books centred around various footballers.

Through the Reading Stars sessions, Derry has not only discovered his preferred genre but has also gained insights into how to select books that are both challenging and appropriate for his reading level. Zeshan introduced Derry to a technique involving skimming the first few lines of a book’s opening page, counting the number of words that pose difficulty in pronunciation or comprehension. Depending on how many words seem difficult, suggests if the book is too challenging/easy or just at his level. This approach has empowered Derry to choose books that strike the right balance between challenge and accessibility.

Derry’s commitment to reading extends beyond the classroom, as he diligently practices his reading skills at home. His aspiration to eventually read a Harry Potter book exemplifies his determination. While Derry acknowledges the difficulty of such books currently, his continuous effort is evident in his steady progress in his current reading.

Zeshan noticed significant progress in Derry’s reading abilities since their one-on-one sessions, and he credits much of this growth to the Reading Stars sessions. He emphasises the importance of the group setting, where they not only discuss their recent reading experiences but also share insights and strategies. This group dynamic has proven to be valuable in maintaining progress and willingness to want to read and talk about reading.

For more information on our Premier League Primary Stars delivery, including our Reading Stars sessions or to get involved with your School, email

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