ST MIRREN star Jack Ross was on the ball when he was ‘booked’ in as a tour guide for a group of kids who proved they are real winners when it comes to reading.
The Buddies defender joined Schools Minister Keith Brown at St Mirren Park to meet parents and children who had taken part in the SPL Reading Stars Programme.
The government-funded scheme is delivered by clubs all across Scotland to try to help people with their literacy and numeracy skills.
The group met at the stadium before they were shown round by Jack and then had the opportunity to ask him some questions.
Then it was time for the youngsters to be congratulated by Mr Brown and given their certificates.
And Jack – who, as well as being a star footballer, has also turned his hand to writing several children’s novels – was impressed by the talented kids he met.
He said: “I was there as part of the SPL Reading Stars Programme to try to encourage kids to read more and the children who were there had all done brilliantly to earn their certificates.
“I gave them a tour round the stadium and showed them the dressing room and the tunnel before we had a wee question-and-answer session.
“It was good as a lot of the children were interested in football and, as they are Paisley kids, many of them are St Mirren fans.
“It’s nice to see the positive impact the club can have in the community.”
The SPL Reading Stars scheme was fully supported by St Mirren’s ‘community team’.
Frazer Robertson, a community coach at the club, explained: “SPL Reading Stars involves local libraries running a reading club within their communities for adults and children.
“Jack Ross supports the scheme and he has nominated his favourite children’s book – James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl – as well as his favourite novel for older readers – Emperor: The Field Of Swords, by Conn Iggulden.
“The children and adults can read the books nominated by Jack or choose one of their own but the main aim is to get children and their parents to come into the libraries once a week to attend a reading club.
“The purpose of this scheme is for children and parents to get some ‘together time’ and it also helps to improve the reading skills of both children and adults.
“The group of kids who came along to the stadium to meet Mr Brown and Jack were thrilled. The event was completed by Jack presenting everyone with their certificates for completing the programme.
“This was a worthwhile project which I think everyone really enjoyed taking part in.”
Mr Brown added: “Literacy skills are at the heart of this government’s ambitions for a successful Scotland and they are at the heart of our skills strategy.
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government’s Big Plus literacy campaign is funding and leading the way in such an exciting and innovative project as SPL Reading Stars.
“The project uses football to capture the imagination of parents and children alike. Parents with improved literacy skills will be better able to support and develop their children’s learning.
“I was delighted to be at St Mirren Football Club to see, first hand, the positive effects of the SPL Reading Stars project.
“Strong literacy skills are essential to ensure all our citizens achieve their full potential to get into employment, move into a better job or undertake further learning that builds their skills even more.
“People are our most valuable resource and I am determined to ensure that everyone in our society has the opportunity to make the most of learning and, in turn, contribute to the Government’s core purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth.”