WESTERN Bulldogs footballers are hoping for some happy, uplifting book reviews to read while they prepare for a big AFL season ahead.
The club, in partnership with Ballarat Library, launched children’s literacy program Bulldogs Read with some fun tales on Tuesday.
About 90 pupils from across Alfredton, Warrenheip, Yuille Park and Canadian Lead primary schools have been selected for the club program, which is exclusive to Ballarat.
Pupils will write book reviews and Skype into sessions to talk about books with players.
Bulldog Caleb Daniel has enjoyed being part of the program for a couple of years and never ceased to be impressed with children’s imagination.
“This program is great. It’s a pretty important life skill to be able to read and write. Nice reviews gives you insight into different authors to read,” Daniel said.
Reviews are uploaded on a shared website for all children to read with prizes for top reviews to be won each month.
For the first time, the program will include some pupils with Bulldogs Read experience in a bid to measure how much their literacy skills have improved.
Ballarat Library children and youth librarian Julie Bull said it was a slightly different way of looking at the program, which is now in its fourth year.
“We know kids say they love the program and it’s improving their reading, but we want proof of he impact it has on kids via data,” Ms Bull said.
“This is the first time some kids are doing the program a second time and we’re also keen to see what influence this will have on them – they might take leadership in the program and it might help boost their self-confidence more.
The program is not just about reading and writing, it’s the experience and that has ripple effects on families and schools. There are no limits to this.
Bulldogs Read pupils will go to two Bulldogs matches at Mars Stadium and one at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, plus watch a player training session at Whitten Oval.
They will also get to take part in a session with an author at the library.
Ms Bull said the reviews were growing in popularity each year and extra staff were helping to upload them.
And the results were far-reaching.
Much-loved Australian author Mem Fox was Googling one of her books last year when a Bulldogs Read review popped up in search results.
Ms Bull said the reviewer received an autographed book as a thank you for such a lovely review.
Daniel and teammates Tim English and Billy Gowers answered lots of football and book questions in a session with pupils on Tuesday before signing autographs for all participants.
Western Bulldogs community programs in Ballarat also include youth-based Bulldogs Leadership Project and health initiatives Sons of the West and Daughters of the West.
To read past Bulldogs Read book reviews: bulldogsread.com.au.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.