Yorkshire Carnegie have launched a new programme to encourage school children to read more.

The Rugby Readers programme will reward children for any extra reading they do outside of the curriculum with ‘tries’. Pupils who reach their target number of tries will receive a free ticket to a Yorkshire Carnegie game and take part in our matchday experience. There will be additional prizes for those who exceed their targets. The number of tries varies depending on the type of reading material and children who read a book would be rewarded more tries than reading a web article.

The programme was designed by one of Yorkshire Carnegie’s ERDPP coaches, Luke Pendlebury, and was piloted in Wales High School, who visited the stadium for an educational day last month. The programme will now be offered to all the club’s affiliated schools prior to Christmas and will later be offered to Primary School children.

Speaking about the programme, Yorkshire Carnegie community manager Lisa McCann said: “There are lots of benefits from reading and along with it being an enjoyable activity studies have shown that it can increase emotional intelligence, as readers are able to understand a range of perspectives and motivations. It also helps to keep our brains active and stimulate imagination. I think using the children’s interest in sport to encourage them to read more is a positive initiative and we hope that the children earn many tries so we can welcome them to a Yorkshire Carnegie game this season.”

The programme has the backing of the Yorkshire Carnegie players. Seb Stegmann said his love for reading started at a young age and believes the benefits of reading will help them in their education.

“My favourite book growing up was Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban. I am a big Harry Potter fan and I like all the books in that series, but that one sticks out,” said Stegmann. “I like all the Harry Potter books and the imagination of the whole world and all the different rules that go on in the Wizarding world. The fact that JK Rowling came up with such broad and crazy ideas that intertwine was amazing and kept me engrossed when I was a child. Reading is important as it helps to expand your imagination, improves your vocabulary and spelling and concentration so can help you at school and in all aspects of life. I enjoy reading all kinds of books now and this passion for reading started when I was at school, so I would encourage school children to pick up a book and get reading.”

For more information on the Rugby Readers programme contact lisa.mccann@yorkshirecarnegie.com