RICCY A SCORING AND READING STAR

Ricardo Carvalho may have won his contest with Mark Schwarzer yesterday when the Chelsea defender headed the winning goal past the Middlesbrough keeper - but both have teamed up to promote this year's Premier League Reading Stars (PLRS) scheme

Carvalho is leading Chelsea's participation, along with the club's education team, in the innovative scheme which is now in its sixth year and creates a list of the favourite book choices of 20 Premier League players. Schwarzer had gone as far as to write one of this year's titles.

The project aims to encourage families to visit their local libraries and to read more together.

Sixty children and parents are involved in this season's projects in partnership with the Chelsea, Pimlico and Queen's Park libraries. Each library will receive free copies of the recommended titles and host special football workshops and activities.

Carvalho, Chelsea's 2008 Reading Champion, said:

'I think that reading is very important. It is a good way to relax and to use your imagination. I like reading magazines and also things about football or sport in general.'

He chose the children's book Man of the Match which caught his eye, as he has loved football since he was a young child. The story is about football, friendship and about having fun.

Chelsea library's Maggie Roche who has supported the scheme since it started, said:
'As the library is located on the King's Road close to the Stamford Bridge stadium, many of our visitors are Chelsea fans. It's great that Chelsea's first team players act as strong role models and help to inspire families to read together.'

This season for the first time ever, a Premier League player has been involved in the writing of his book choice. Middlesbrough's Australian goalkeeper Schwarzer co-wrote Megs and the Vootball Kids which is about a footie-mad family who emigrate to Australia.

Results from last year's project indicate that Premier League Reading Stars (PLRS) is definitely working, with 97 per cent of children who took part saying that they will read more regularly as a result and 90 per cent of parents agreeing that they would go to a library more often.

Other football internationals, who added their favourite books to this year's list, include Matthew Upson, Dirk Kuyt and Jermaine Jenas. Further information about PLRS, including a list of participating players and their book choices, can be found on the Football Foundation website.