Ideas for the staffroom during the Rugby World Cup

This is the first of several blogs about how you can use the buzz around the Rugby World Cup to encourage reading for pleasure in your school.

If you want reading for pleasure campaigns to work in your school or library, you need all, or at least some, of your colleagues on board. And that starts in the staffroom.


Staff rugby reading training

In the lead up to the Rugby World Cup use one of the school’s staff meetings as a chance to train or inform your colleagues in the joys of rugby reading.

Take three ideas from the Read Rugby toolkit (see link below). Ones that will work well in with your pupils. Ask your colleagues to help you tailor those ideas for the children in your school. As well as helping you to make the ideas work best for you, it may also bring some of them on board with delivering the ideas.

Then talk about what else you can do, using the toolkit.


Staff rugby readers

Ask your colleagues if they would like to join you as rugby reading champions. Are some of them rugby fans? Or general sports fans? Can they be persuaded?

They could be encouraged to look out for reluctant readers in school and talk to them about rugby – or other – reading, help you run rugby reading book groups, talk to parents about your plans in the playground.

Ask them to generate their own ideas – or to choose some from the toolkit.


Staffroom poster

Create a poster for the staffroom, reminding your colleagues of your rugby reading activities.


Staff reading selfies

Kids love to know what their teachers are reading. Ask all your colleagues to do a rugby reading selfie for your school display areas. Ideally rugby books, magazines or newspapers. But – if they are not into rugby – a selfie of them reading something that they are passionate about.


Reluctant reader posters

In the same way you have posters in staffrooms about children and their allergies or health issues, put up some posters of children who aren’t keen on reading, but who do like sport. Say what sports they like. Encourage your colleagues to talk to them about things they have read.


Rugby Readers

Employ pupils as Rugby Readers, so that they can help you champion rugby reading during 2015, allow them into the staffroom as special children during their role as champions.


For more free ideas and resources about using the Rugby World Cup to encourage children to read for pleasure, please visit and check out the Read Rugby toolkit. It takes less than a minute to subscribe.

Many thanks.

A Rugby World Cup story for schools

During this autumn’s Rugby World Cup I will be writing a live story to be read aloud in schools every morning – or at bedtime every night. It will be a five-minute read with dramatic cliff hangers, influenced by the events of the tournament on and off the field.

I’ll be writing it every evening, for publication online before 7 a.m. every weekday morning. There will be 23 episodes in all.

I have done this before. For the last three major international football tournaments. It works well. The Brazil World Cup story had 220,000 downloads on the National Literacy Trust website. There is something about a story that is about the events of the last 24 hours that appeals to children.

The England Rugby story will be a spy/detective/adventure story set in the time of the coming Rugby World Cup. Although the storyline will be determined by what happens each day, the core of the story will be one girl and three boys trying to stop a madman who is determined to undermine the five core values of England rugby: Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship.

If you think about it, at least one of these values is tested in most children’s books. In the England Rugby story four children will have to uphold them all. Or pay the price.

The story episodes will be available free – on the England Rugby schools webpages – every weekday morning from 16th September to 16th October.  If you’d like to sign up for a notification please contact me via

Thanks to England Rugby for funding his story. Please tell other teachers and parents about it.


Things you’ll get if you come to a Rugby World Cup Reading Game

This week is week two of my Rugby World Cup Reading Game tour, funded by the RFU.

The first week was London and the south east. This week is a road trip: Leicester, Birmingham, Gloucester, Cardiff and Exeter.

The Rugby World Cup Reading Game is best described here. But there is more.

If you are one of the first TEN families to come you get a free ball. See below.

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Whichever child wins the Rugby World Cup Reading Game receives one of these trophies. See below.

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And everyone who comes will learn a bit more about my Rugby Academy series. About how I write rugby stories. About the research I had to do in Toulon and New Zealand.

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But the main thing I want people to go away with is an even greater desire to read for pleasure and ideas about what you could read about rugby to achieve that.

Monday 17th at 2pm    Beaumont Leys Library, Leicester

Tuesday 18th at 2pm    Birmingham Central Library

Wednesday 19th at 10am     Gloucester Library

Thursday 20th at 10am     Cardiff Library

Friday 21st at 10am     Exeter Library

Join us!

My rugby tour hits Brighton

My tour of public libraries near Rugby World Cup stadiums leaves London tomorrow. For Brighton. And I know it’s going to be a great day.

It’s a double event with a morning session at the Brighton Jubilee Library and an afternoon event at super-indie bookshop, The Book Nook.

Both venues have done loads to promote the events. Their enthusiasm is second to none. That’s why it’s going to be good.

If you want to join us for a quiz and a kicking competition at the library at 11 a.m. or the bookshop at 2 p.m., please do. You’ll be very welcome.

Score at Wembley

There are few places people sing with greater joy about visiting than Wembley.

Wembley, Wembley! We’re the famous Leeds United and we’re off to Wembley!

I’ve sung that many times.  But it’s not come true that often. I’ve been to Wembley three times. The 1992 Charity Shield. The 1996 League Cup. And the 2013 England v New Zealand Rugby League World Cup semi final. Not bad. It could be worse.

But on Wednesday 12th August 2015 I am going there. To Wembley Library, to be precise. To run my Rugby Reading Game. A quiz. A kicking competition and a trophy.

The Rugby World Cup is nearly with us. This is an event for any sports fans – and parents who might like to get them into reading.

Full details here.

It’s at 2.30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Join us and you could score at Wembley.


My England Rugby library tour

starts tomorrow at Twickenham. Not at the stadium, but just down the road at Twickenham Library.

In fact, all week I am at public libraries very near stadiums.

That was the intention.

In a month’s time the Rugby World Cup kicks off. The games are being played at thirteen stadiums in England and Wales. England Rugby asked me to visit the library nearest to each stadium to deliver an event that will use the Rugby World Cup to encourage families to reads for pleasure.

So I’ll be running my Rugby Reading Game. It involves a quiz about reading rugby plus an in-library penalty kicking competition.

It’s about encouraging reading for pleasure through children’s passions. And showing them that there is loads of rugby reading in books, newspapers and online at their library. And that it’s free.

In fact, whatever their interest, their passion, their hobby, there is lots for children to read in public libraries.

You can find out more about my tour, free rugby reading resources for schools and my Rugby Academy series here.

Kicking off in Leeds

I started my tour of the libraries closest to the Rugby World Cup venues yesterday. It began in a good way – doing a sort of support act for the Rugby World Cup. And here we are, together…

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Over the next three weeks I am doing my Rugby Reading Game at all the venue towns and cities, talking to families about rugby, reading and rugby reading. These are my tour details.

As I travel I’ll be reviewing rugby books, magazines and other reading material that kids and adults tell me about and presenting idiotic photographs like the one above.

I also intend to visit every stadium to have a look how they’re set up.

So join me. Here. Or on the #ReadRugby hashtag.

Thanks to England Rugby for funding this tour in full and with great enthusiasm.

I did a blog about how Leeds Library changed my life a couple of days ago. You can read it here.







Meet the Rugby World Cup – and me

On Friday 7th August at midday the Rugby World Cup is on display at Leeds Central Library.

Why? What sense is there in showing off one of the world’s great sporting trophies in a public library?

To me it makes perfect sense. In fact, to me it is extraordinarily fitting that it is on display in Leeds Central Library.

That’s because this is the library that made me love reading. Forget writing. Yes, it is the library that made me a writer. But – more importantly – Leeds Central Library made me a reader.

When I finally got into reading, I needed sports books. Lots of them. I would only read about sport. Because that was all I was interested in. Then. So my mum brought , me to Leeds Central.

I read about Leeds United. I read about Leeds RL, as they were known then. And I became more confident about reading.

There is no better place for a person to become more confident about reading than a library. Because that is the only place there are thousands of books about hundreds of subjects that are all free.

It happened to me.

That’s why I am excited that the Rugby World Cup is coming to Leeds Central Library.

Along with the trophy there will be activities, games, crafts, Xbox rugby and me.

Yes, me.

I’ll be hosting my Rugby Reading Game. A quiz.  A kicking competition. All to engage children with reading.

For me, that is amazing. In the building that got me into reading through sport I’ll be back trying to get others into reading through sport.

See below…

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Press Release: Rugby & Literacy

England Rugby and kids’ author to tackle reading and writing

Children’s author – Tom Palmer – has been funded by the RFU to promote reading for pleasure before and during this autumn’s Rugby World Cup, hosted by England.

He will do this by hosting literacy events in public libraries over the summer, by writing a bespoke story that will unfold during the Rugby World Cup and through a set of literacy resources on the RFU website.

England’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup this autumn will create a huge buzz and – therefore – a great opportunity to promote reading for pleasure on the back of that.

In August Palmer will host his Rugby Reading Game at public libraries next to each of the thirteen Rugby World Cup venues, combining a rugby reading quiz with an indoor penalty competition. Tour details are listed at

In September and October he will write a ‘live’ Rugby World Cup story as the tournament progresses, reacting to the events on and off the pitch.

The RFU education website already hosts his set of reading for pleasure resources for schools, libraries and families to use with children, as well as fifteen writing drills based on aspects of the game. They can be found at

Palmer said: ‘I like to encourage children to read for pleasure by using whatever is exciting at the time. This autumn the buzz will come from England hosting the Rugby World Cup. I hope that these resources, events and story will help libraries and schools achieve that. As well as parents at home.’

Tom Palmer is the author of 30 children’s books, including his 2015 Rugby Academy series, published by Barrington Stoke. He will be writing a daily Rugby World Cup blog from August 7th until the end of the tournament, promoting reading through recommendations and a tournament diary aimed at children.

Please contact Tom direct via or @tompalmerauthor