Arsenal’s Theo Walcott and Duchess of Cornwall team up to give illiteracy red card in Islington

Arsenal and England footballer Theo Walcott teamed up with the Duchess of Cornwall to help pupils kick illiteracy into touch.

They were at the Gunners’ Emirates Stadium last week to launch Premier League Reading Stars, a new scheme aiming to get more children reading using the power of football.

They were joined by 80 pupils from Pakeman Primary School, in Hornsey Road, Holloway, Rotherfield Primary School, in Rotherfield Street, Islington, Pooles Park Primary School in Lennox Road, Finsbruy Park and The Bridge School, in Hungerford Road, Holloway.

Camilla was given a tour of the stadium, while Theo Walcott took part in a penalty shoot out with some of the youngsters.

The 22-year-old striker, who has written a series of children’s books, said: “I think it is important for kids to read. For a lot of kids we are role models, so I’ll do anything I can do to help them out. It was great to meet the Duchess of Cornwall, she made me feel very comfortable and was very relaxed. This is a great scheme to come together on and encourage children to read and I am very happy to be a part of that through supporting the scheme and through my own books which are based on my own experiences as a child.”

The children then took part in a quiz hosted by the duchess and the footballer, which Rotherfield school won.

The project targets primary and secondary school children who are below the expected reading standard for their age. On the Reading Stars website, kids can watch videos of the football heroes setting various literacy challenges.

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