Praise for chil­dren’s au­thor who is help­ing to raise lit­er­acy lev­els

Yorkshire Post - - EDUCATION ON MONDAY -

A RE­LUC­TANT reader turned chil­dren’s au­thor has won this year’s Ruth Ren­dell Award in recog­ni­tion of his out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to rais­ing lit­er­acy lev­els in the UK.

At school, Leeds-born Tom Palmer rarely picked up a book un­til his mother en­cour­aged him to read sto­ries in­spired by his love of sport. The de­voted Leeds United fan has since carved his own ca­reer writ­ing books de­signed to en­gage other re­luc­tant read­ers, as well as those with dys­lexia.

In the last 12 months, he has also un­der­taken 150 school vis­its, de­liv­er­ing lit­er­acy work­shops to more than 30,000 chil­dren. Added to that, dur­ing the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Mr Palmer also worked with the Na­tional Lit­er­acy Trust on a new Roy of the Rovers story – the first to fea­ture a fe­male lead in the comic’s 65-year his­tory.

He said: “This is so ex­cit­ing for

my fam­ily, as much as me. I found books in­tim­i­dat­ing as a child and feared I’d fail to fin­ish them. But short sport ar­ti­cles in news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines – in­clud­ing Roy of the Rovers – and sport books from the li­brary were a great way into read­ing for me.

“Any­one can en­joy and strengthen their read­ing if they find the right thing for them, and that’s what I re­ally try and get across to all the young read­ers I meet. I’m also very proud that many of my books are pub­lished by Bar­ring­ton Stoke, whose books are writ­ten, edited and de­signed with re­luc­tant read­ers and those with dys­lexia and vis­ual stress.”

Mr Palmer has also been the chil­dren’s writer in res­i­dence at the RAF Mu­seum and his lat­est book, Armistice Run­ner, has been short­listed for more than a dozen awards, in­clud­ing the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

Stella Bin­noy, the head of academy at Hack­wood Pri­mary Academy, who nom­i­nated Mr Palmer for the award, which is sup­ported by the trust, said: “As well as be­ing a great chil­dren’s writer, his pas­sion for ed­u­ca­tion and for sup­port­ing chil­dren shines through both on his web­site and when you meet him in per­son.”

TOM PALMER: ‘Any­one can en­joy and strengthen their read­ing if they find the right thing for them.’

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