The ‘Read with a Wanderer’ literacy program launch at Crestwood Public School today was a win 12 months in the making.
The partnership between the Western Sydney Wanderers and The University of Western Sydney will see primary teaching students help students in years 5 to 8 at western Sydney schools to write books to be read to pupils in kindergarten to year 2.
The eleven best books will be read by a different Wanderers player, with video of each uploaded to dedicated website so the whole community can listen or read along.
Western Sydney Wanderers players Matthew Spiranovic and Yianni Perkati read to pupils in years 5 and 6 from the Baulkham Hills school.
Students from Kellyville and Crestwood High Schools were also in the audience as a picture book about the Wanderers playing against Santa’s elves in a Christmas football match at Parramatta Stadium was read.
‘‘I loved the idea of how the elves were versing a real team — it made it more enjoyable to read,’’ said year 6 pupil Lara Cambaz.
‘‘Everyone loves soccer so to see a famous team read one of your books would make it more persuasive for children.’’
Crestwood High School year 9 student Rene Preketes, 14, wrote the second book read — about a lion who is separated from his zebra friend by a tidal wave and travels everywhere to find him.
‘‘I enjoyed the kids reactions to the book. They seemed to enjoy it so I was very proud.’’
Principal Denise Hazell said pupils were excited to meet the players.
"When I spoke to my students about the Wanderers having representatives here they were absolutely delighted," she said.
"To see someone that they idolise valuing literacy and valuing reading we think will really help to spread [interest] across all sectors of the community."
Crestwood High School literacy teacher Tracey Cowan said her students were now more interested in writing with the prospect of having their book published and read by a Wanderer.
"We're trying to encourage them to develop their writing skills and this has been the best initiative . . . because now they want to write."