Sportsmen help city promote reading habit

SPORTING stars have helped to launch a new literacy campaign in a Yorkshire city which has some areas where high numbers of adults are unable to read and write.

Bradford City striker James Hanson and boxer Tasif Khan, joined six-year-old Molly Thornton at the Bradford Literacy Campaign book giveaway launch.

Footballer James Hanson and teacher turned professional boxer Tasif Khan took part in an event marking the official launch of the Bradford Literacy Campaign.

It is being led by the National Literacy Trust and Bradford Council with the aim of promoting the importance of literacy skills.

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The National Literacy Trust say that in some areas of Bradford almost half of adults have such low literacy levels that it makes everyday life difficult.

Although its GCSE results had improved, the latest league tables earlier this year showed Bradford was ranked among the worst performing authority areas in the country for the number of pupils achieving five good GCSE grades including English and maths.

The new literacy campaign is working to raise awareness, opportunities and standards across the Bradford district.

Events promoting literacy have already taken place during the summer including the annual Girlington Parade, which made reading the theme of this year’s event. A Love Keighley creative writing competition was also held which asked children what they loved about their town.

The National Literacy Trust’s director Jonathan Douglas said: “We’ve already achieved a lot with our local partners in engaging the community and this fun event is bringing together many of Bradford and Yorkshire’s key institutions and individuals for one unifying cause – to combat low literacy in the area - which will be a wonderful thing to see.

“Getting parents involved is crucial and we would encourage Bradford’s parents to visit where they can find practical tips on supporting their child’s literacy.”

Boxer Tasif Khan is a former primary school teacher. He said:“I think the Bradford Literacy Campaign is giving out a really important message to kids. Having good literacy skills is so important, even if, like me, you want to pursue a career in sports. I loved teaching as it meant I could give back to the community and pass on what I’ve learnt. My favourite book is Muhammad Ali’s autobiography ‘My Own Story’ - Ali not only made changes in the ring but to the lives of the black community in America.”

Bradford’s Lord Mayor Coun Mike Gibbons said: “I am delighted that Bradford Council is working in partnership with the National Literacy Trust – a national charity with extensive expertise and knowledge in addressing low literacy. The participation of Bradford’s many unique organisations and talent demonstrates the positivity and belief we have in the district. Together we are bringing together lots of local organisations and public services to make sure that literacy support gets out into our communities where it is needed most.”